David Swensen’s tremendous success in managing the $30 billion Yale Endowment has made him a star in the world of asset managers.

The style of investment he invented has spawned many imitators among managers of U.S. endowments and throughout the investment world. It involves the heavy use of alternative investments as a way to diversify a portfolio and boost returns.

How effective has it been?

To find out, this paper looks at the asset allocation bets made by U.S. endowments in recent years and the returns they have produced. It offers important insights for all investors, including those entrusted with managing foundations, trusts and private wealth.

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