Thursday, November 26, 2015

Penn hires Yale investor to handle $7 billion

Peter Ammon worked with hedge-fund fan David Swensen at Yale

Penn hires Yale investor to handle $7 billion


"The University of Pennsylvania tapped Peter Ammon, a colleague of legendary Yale University endowment chief David Swensen, as its next chief investment officer," PEHub reports here. Ammon, 36, has worked for Yale since 2005. He starts July 1, succeeding Kristin Gilbertson, who left last fall.

Adds PEHub: "Long term, Penn has trailed many of its Ivy League peers, producing an average annual return of 7 percent over the last decade, as compared with top-performing Yale, which has an average annual return of 10.6 percent over the same period. At the same time, Penn’s private equity allocation, which is 8.2 percent, is smaller than many Ivy League peers. Harvard University’s endowment has a 12 percent allocation to private equity while Yale’s is 35 percent." True, Penn was late to illiquid investments like hedge funds -- but Gilbertson's reluctance to buy overpriced illiquid assets worked to Penn's advantage: Penn lost less than its peers in the 2008 market collapse, and stayed liquid while Harvard, Yale and Princeton were forced to dump stocks at the bottom of the market.

"As of June 2012, Penn’s endowment was valued at $6.8 billion, ranking it fifth in size among the Ivy League’s eight universities, behind the $30.7 billion endowment of Harvard, the world’s largest. Yale, with the nation’s second largest endowment, has $19.3 billion in assets. As part of his responsibilities, Ammon will also be in charge of Penn’s $1 billion employee pension plan."

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PhillyDeals posts interviews, drafts and updates that Joseph N. DiStefano writes alongside his Sunday and Monday columns and ongoing articles about Philadelphia-area business.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn. He taught writing and research at St. Joe’s. He has written for the Inquirer since 1989, except when he left a few times to work at Bloomberg and elsewhere. He wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six kids with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at, 215.854.5194, @PhillyJoeD. Read his blog posts at and his Inquirer columns at Bloomberg posts his items at NH BLG_PHILLYDEAL.

Reach Joseph at or 215 854 5194.

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