New Harvard Endowment Website on Divestment

Harvard Management Company has a new website. There you will find a description of their new investment approach.

HMC’s generalist investment model breaks down silos among asset classes to search the world for the most attractive risk-adjusted returns. A central tenet of our investment culture is a belief that a disciplined set of processes, practiced by a capable and experienced team, will generate superior long-term results.

We are keenly focused on building processes—and supporting analytics—and executing them consistently. We combine these processes with a partnership culture in which the collective team engages in focused debates about investment opportunities both within asset classes and across the investment universe. The result is an investment team with a singular focus: the performance of the overall endowment.

Harvard Management Company

But the school newspaper noticed that it lacked any comment on divestment.

Harvard divested from the tobacco industry in 1990 and companies tied to the Sudanese government in 2005. The school also withdrew some of its investments from firms that conducted business with the South African apartheid government in the 1980s. In those cases, Harvard divested its own direct holdings, but not those held in externally managed funds, which make up a significant portion of their holdings.

The new website, however, does not contain any references to divestment.

New Harvard Management Company Website Removes Divestment Information, Defends Natural Resources Holdings, The Harvard Crimson

Instead, it is the University President who is explaining the school’s current policy on divestment.

Bacow also explained how previous instances of divestment — such as the University’s divestment from the tobacco industry in 1990 — differ from fossil fuels. He said that tobacco divestment included a complete ban on interacting with tobacco across all spheres of the University, including barring it from campus and prohibiting research funded by tobacco companies in Harvard labs. He said this sort of full-scale divestment is not possible for fossil fuels.

“The day after, if we were to divest, we’re still going to turn on the lights,” Bacow said. “We would still be dependent on fossil fuels.”

Bacow Makes Surprise Appearance at Harvard Fossil Fuel Divestment Forum, The Harvard Crimson

Portrait of Moby-Dick author, Herman Melville, at Houghton Library on Harvard campus.
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Post by Marcelino Pantoja