Queen's Endowment

Investing in Queen's, investing in people

The Queen's Endowment is an investment pool composed of funds that have been designated to university Endowment accounts. Donations received by the university are invested in the Queen's Endowment and each year certain amounts are withdrawn according to the Spending Policy. These annual withdrawals fund scholarships, academic chairs, book funds, lectureships, as well as a diverse range of university programs.

Subject to levels of risks acceptable under a "prudent portfolio" approach to investing funds of this nature, the primary objective of the Pooled Endowment Fund is to maximize risk adjusted returns in furtherance of two competing goals; the goal of releasing substantial income to support current operations and the goal of preserving the purchasing power of assets for future generations.

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Endowment Overview

Graph of stock performance

External Investment Managers

Student on Convocation Day

Annual Returns (before fees)

Year Mar-31 Jun-30 Sept-30 Dec-31
2021 29.1% 23.4%    
2020 -3.9% 3.9% 7.2% 11.4%
2019 6.3% 5.3% 4.8% 13.1%
2018 6.0% 7.7% 7.9% -0.2%
2017 12.1% 10.2% 8.0% 9.6%
2016 2.0% 5.0% 10.0% 8.1%
2015 14.2% 10.5% 8.1% 8.6%
2014 16.1% 18.7% 15.3% 11.6%
2013 13.2% 16.0% 16.2% 20.5%
2012 3.4% 1.7% 14.6% 12.3%
2011 10.6% 16.7% 0.1% 0.2%
2010 24.4% 7.8% 7.0% 9.4%
2009 -21.9% -15.0% 2.9% 15.5%
2008 -3.4% -4.6% -14.4% -21.5%
2007 12.2% 17.0% 12.1% 3.3%
2006 12.7% 6.5% 8.3% 14.8%

Asset Allocation and Market Value


 

The Queen's Endowment is well diversified across individual securities, asset classes, and geographies. The table below outlines the Strategic Policy Asset Mix for the fund. 

Asset Class Asset Mix Asset Mix Range
Equities 70% 50 - 80%
Fixed Income & Absolute Return 20% 10 - 45%
Real Assets 10% 5 - 15%

The Investment Committee recommends the Strategic Policy Asset Mix to the Board of Trustees. The Strategic Policy Asset Mix is the long-term mix of assets that has been judged to be optimal for the Queen's Endowment. Based on its medium-term outlook, the Investment Committee employs a Target Asset Mix that falls within the Strategic Asset Mix Ranges. The Department of Investment Services monitors the actual asset allocation and rebalances the portfolio to the Target Asset Mix as required.

See a full report of the assets held within the Queen's Endowment.

Market Value of the Endowment, as of April 30, 2021, after distributions

The Investment Committee is responsible for establishing the yearly spending rate for the Queen's Endowment. Over the past decade, the payout has ranged between 9.24 and 13.72 cents per unit, implying a spending rate of between 3.4% - 4.3%. The payout for the 2021/2022 fiscal year is 14.43 cents per unit.

The annual spending rate is based on a hybrid formula.

The policy relates current-year spending to both the current endowment market values and the previous level of spending from endowments. The policy is designed to meet two competing objectives:

  • To release current income to the operating budget in a stable stream, and
  • To protect the value of endowment assets against inflation.

The spending rule attempts to achieve these two objectives by using a long-term spending rate combined with a smoothing rule that adjusts spending gradually to changes in endowment market value. The amount released under the spending rule is based on a 70% weight applied to the previous year's spending adjusted for inflation (subject to a maximum cap of inflation of 2%) and a 30% weight applied to the amount that would have been spent using 4.0% of current endowment market value. Also, an upper limit of 4.5% and a lower limit of 3.5% is imposed on the spending rate. The spending rate for the 2021/2022 fiscal year is 3.7%.

The spending rule has two implications. First, by incorporating the previous year's spending, the rule eliminates large fluctuations and so enables the university to plan for its operating budget needs. Second, by adjusting spending toward a long-term rate of 4.0% of endowment market values, the rule ensures that spending levels will be sensitive to fluctuating endowment market value levels, providing stability in long-term purchasing power.

The Queen's Endowment operates in a similar manner to a mutual fund. The value of a unit is determined by dividing the total current market value of the fund by the number of units outstanding. This value is calculated monthly by the Department of Financial Services and will increase or decrease according to investment performance.

Donations received by Queen's are unitized at the end of each month at the prevailing unit value. Income is then credited to the donor-specified cause based on the number of units held and the current dividend rate, as established by the Investment Committee.

Queen's Endowment Unit Value

The monthly value of a Queen’s Endowment fund unit is shown below.

Date Unit Value
July 31, 2021 4.2212
June 30, 2021 4.2044
May 31, 2021 4.1171
April 30, 2021 4.0944
March 31, 2021 4.0400
February 28, 2021 3.9581
January 31, 2021 3.8945
December 31, 2020 3.9040
November 30, 2020 3.8272
October 31, 2020 3.6030
September 30, 2020 3.6712
August 31, 2020 3.7102
July 31, 2020 3.6351
June 30, 2020 3.5506
May 31, 2020 3.5381
April 30, 2020 3.4628
March 31, 2020 3.2648
February 29, 2020 3.5354
January 31, 2020 3.6621
December 31, 2019 3.6566
November 30, 2019 3.6400
October 31, 2019 3.5783
September 30, 2019 3.5729
August 31, 2019 3.5491
July 31, 2019 3.5647
June 30, 2019 3.5627
May 31, 2019 3.5110
April 30, 2019 3.5780
March 31, 2019 3.5436
February 28, 2019 3.5072
January 31, 2019 3.4546
December 31, 2018 3.3698
November 30, 2018 3.4715
October 31, 2018 3.4361
September 30, 2018 3.5547
August 31, 2018 3.5746
July 31, 2018 3.5598
June 30, 2018 3.5275
May 31, 2018 3.5138
April 30, 2018 3.4864
March 31, 2018 3.4767
February 28, 2018 3.4953
January 31, 2018 3.5391
December 31, 2017 3.5170
November 30, 2017 3.5141
October 31, 2017 3.4879
September 30, 2017 3.4306
August 31, 2017 3.4056
July 31, 2017 3.3911
June 30, 2017 3.4125
May 31, 2017 3.4663
April 30, 2017 3.4417
March 31, 2017 3.4121
February 28, 2017 3.3905
January 31, 2017 3.3307
December 31, 2016 3.3378
November 30, 2016 3.3043
October 31, 2016 3.2891
September 30, 2016 3.3030
August 31, 2016 3.2969
July 31, 2016 3.2818
June 30, 2016 3.2170
May 31, 2016 3.2166
April 30, 2016 3.1534