David F. Swensen

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David F. Swensen
Chief Investment Officer
Yale Endowment

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Known as the Financial Wizard of Yale, David Swensen pioneered the endowment model known as the Yale Model, drastically affecting the way asset managers and institutional investors do business. The Yale Model is an investment strategy named after the ivy league university endowment that popularized the concept. Swensen believes that long-term institutional investors such as endowments, pension funds and sovereign funds, can generate superior returns by carefully picking alternative investments in asset classes such as hedge funds, private equity, real estate and infrastructure at the expense of traditional fixed income and public equities. The model favors committing a high percentage of the portfolio toward illiquid assets. Without Swensen, many institutional investors would certainly think differently about how to manage long-term institutional assets. Swensen literally penned the textbook on endowments.