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Queen’s releases 2014-15 financial statements

Queen’s financial statements for 2014-15 have now been posted online after being approved by the university’s Board of Trustees earlier this month.

The statements, which outline the university’s consolidated financial results for the fiscal year ending April 30, 2015, report a surplus of revenues over expenses of $61.9 million even as the university continues to face a number of financial challenges.

“The majority of the surplus is the result of strong investment returns in the university’s investment and endowment funds,” says Caroline Davis, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration). “There is a degree of volatility in the financial statements because of investment returns.  The markets performed very well over the fiscal year, but the university cannot count on such strong returns over the long term.”

The university’s pooled endowment fund returned 12 per cent during the fiscal year. A portion of the endowment fund, use of which is largely restricted by the wishes of donors, is paid out to fund operations while the remainder is reinvested to protect the long-term value of the portfolio.

“There is a degree of volatility in the financial statements because of investment returns.  The markets performed very well over the fiscal year, but the university cannot count on such strong returns over the long term.”

- Caroline Davis, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration)

The smaller pooled investment fund, which includes a range of research funds, trust accounts, and operating carry-forwards, returned 10 per cent for the year. Those returns provide important flexibility for the university to address strategic priorities.

Alan Harrison, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), is responsible for the university’s budget process and says that apart from one-time items like investment returns, the 2014-15 fiscal year ended as expected.

“Through the annual budget process, the university is focused on managing its resources carefully in the face of financial challenges,” says Harrison. “Despite the positive result in 2014-15, the university continues to face an unsustainable pension plan with a $285 million solvency deficit, a $253-million deferred maintenance backlog, static or declining government grants and uncertainty around the outcome of the government’s review of the university funding formula.”

The university’s financial statements are available on the Financial Services website, while more information about the university’s budget process is available on the provost’s website.