Harvard Pays $27 million to 6 to Manage its Money and loose $8.1 billion

It is wonderful to watch the non-profits, with Harvard at the head, mimic the for-profits and pay huge sums to people who have blown their money and lost millions of dollars in elaborate and reckless investments. Who in their right minds would donate money to a non-profit these days, given their total disregard for the obligations they have to their donors.

It is wonderful to watch the non-profits, with Harvard at the head, mimic the for-profits and pay huge sums to people who have blown their money and lost millions of dollars in elaborate and reckless investments.  Who in their right minds would donate money to a non-profit these days, given their total disregard for the obligations they have to their donors. 

 

That tax exempt non-profits should be paying millions in salary and bonuses to their investment officers to manage their endowments is one of the great deceptions of our time.  The argument, of course, is that they could not recruit the best talent without paying big bucks.  That is the same argument you hear from today’s corporations with the same results.  Well, Harvard paid the big bucks and their investment officers lost almost 30% of their money.  They probably also (much liked the failed banks) paid them big bonuses this year too.  And, Harvard is not an isolated case.  Almost every large university in this country is doing the same – as are some of the small and smaller ones.

 

One has to be crazy to donate to these institutions.  They are always after alumni to support their many “worthy” projects, pleading for support in these difficult times.  But before you give money, next time, find out how much the institution is paying its investment people, and even more important how much it is paying its president.  You will be blown away and sickened in every instance.  Presidents and these other people are being paid huge salaries these days.

 

And, if all this were not bad enough, stop and think about Harvard’s Investment-in-Chief who was responsible for overseeing the elaborate and risky investments that were responsible for their $8.1 billion loss to date (they will loose much more in the months ahead).  His name is Larry Summers, the recent president of Harvard who will now take on the oversight of the Obama government’s economic plans.  Summers is moving from giving direction to Harvard’s investments to giving direction to the United States government’s money.  What a catastrophe!! 

 

 

Daniel Socolow
Daniel Socolow: President, Socolow Group. Former Director of the MacArthur Fellows Program, President of the American University of Paris, Vice President of Spelman College. BA, MA, Ph.D.

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Comments

  • Bill

    December 22, 2008

    Summers was President of the University, not the head of its investment group. I doubt he was very involved in actively managing the portfolio.

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