Stanford Management Company (SMC) is the office within Stanford University that invests the Endowment and other financial assets to provide long-term support to the University.
Established in 1991, SMC pursues an investment program for the Endowment with two primary goals: to provide material support for current University operations, including student financial aid, and to preserve the purchasing power of the Endowment so that future generations of students and scholars benefit from similar support. The success of SMC’s investment program is crucial to the University’s ability to carry out its mission on campus and around the world.
Stanford’s academic programs weave a vibrant tapestry of scholarship and research, from cutting-edge technology to the arts and humanities. One of the most important threads that holds this tapestry together is the Endowment. Comprising more than 7,900 individual funds established by donors, the Endowment touches nearly every part of the University on a daily basis by supporting faculty, research, student financial aid, and numerous other areas. The stronger the Endowment, the more impactful Stanford’s mission can be.
Investment returns generated from Endowment funds support the University’s mission. For example, an Endowment payout of $1.7 billion in Fiscal Year 2023 funded over 22% of the University’s total operating expenses. This financial support funds work across a wide variety of disciplines, including the arts, humanities, sciences, engineering, sustainability, law, medicine, business, and education. The Endowment is an essential resource for Stanford as it strives to advance human knowledge and ultimately benefit the local, national, and global community.
The Merged Pool
SMC manages the $40.9 billion Merged Pool, which represents the substantial majority of Stanford’s investable assets. Endowment funds constitute three-quarters of the Merged Pool. Other investment assets include non-endowment gifts, reserves, and funds relating to Stanford Hospital and the Stanford Medicine Children’s Health.
Since SMC’s inception in 1991, the Merged Pool has enjoyed impressive results. SMC’s long-term performance has generated substantial resources for the University, adding billions of dollars to the Endowment relative to the results of peers and a traditional passive portfolio of equities and bonds.
SMC strives to ensure its management of the Endowment aligns with the University’s mission and values. Ethical considerations are incorporated in the evaluation of every investment’s suitability for the Merged Pool portfolio. SMC’s Ethical Investment Framework, approved by the University Board of Trustees in 2018, describes how ethical issues factor into the office’s investment decision-making. SMC’s work is further guided by the Trustee’s Statement on Investment Responsibility, first adopted more than 50 years ago, and amended periodically by the Board.