Harvard’s Biggest Holding is ETF

This past January, Harvard Management’s chief executive officer  N.P. “Narv” Narvekar announced plans to overhaul its $35.7 billion endowment to boost performance, according to a recent Bloomberg article. And, according to the endowment’s first-quarter filing, its largest publicly traded holding is a high-yield bond ETF, the article says.

In the filing, Harvard Management Company disclosed that it held 9.6 million shares of iShares iBoxx High Yield Corporate Bond ETF valued at $841 million. According to the article, the ETF gained 2.3% for the three-month period, adding that the company is “letting go about half of the 230-person staff by year end, shuttering internal hedge funds that traded in fixed-income and equities markets and seeking to rely more on outside money managers.”

The endowment fund has also set up a new internal team, the article says, to “oversee a so-called public markets beta portfolio that invests in exchange-traded funds and other similar strategies that deliver index-like returns at low cost.” The team, it says, is being led by Jake Xia, who was hired from Morgan Stanley in 2013.