David Swensen

Last Update: 08-13-2015

Number of Stocks: 6
Number of New Stocks: 5

Total Value: $353 Mil
Q/Q Turnover: 85%

Countries: USA
Details: Top Buys | Top Sales | Top Holdings  Embed:

David Swensen Watch

  • David Swensen Buys Stake in Vanguard MSCI Emerging Markets ETF

    David Swensen - David Swensen Buys Stake In Vanguard MSCI Emerging Markets ETF

    In 30 years as chief investment officer at Yale University, David Swensen (Trades, Portfolio) has been quite successful. In the last decade, he has enjoyed an annual return of more than 17.2% on his investments. In his personal investments, Swensen applies knowledge he has gained in that role as well as in his six years on Wall Street prior to taking the job at Yale

    Swensen’s most significant second-quarter transaction was his purchase of a 3,258,000-share stake in Vanguard MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (VWO). Swensen paid an average price of $42.57 per share in a deal that had a 37.78% impact on Swensen’s portfolio.


  • Notes From Hillhouse Capital's Lei Zhang's Lecture At Columbia Business School

    In the high flying world of investing, Lei Zhang maintains a relatively low profile. Yet since he was seeded by David Swensen of Yale Endowment with $20 million in 2005, he has achieved a ~40% compounded annual return (28x not adjusting for inflation), making him one of the best performing investment managers. To put it into perspective, Warren Buffett has achieved a compounded annual return of ~22%, albeit for the past 50 years. Today, Lei Zhang’s Hillhouse Capital, named after a street nearby Yale where Lei received his MBA and master’s in public policy, manages ~$18 billion. Though not just focused on tech, Lei is best known for backing several most successful Chinese internet entrepreneurs and startups (e.g. Tencent, JD.com). On April 29, Lei paid a visit to the “Temple of Value Investing” Columbia Business School to share his investing and life lessons. Below are my summaries of his wisdom:


  • 7 Quirky Dividend Stocks

    With bond yields in the gutter for these past six years, investors have grown accustomed to looking in… shall we say… “nonconventional” places for yield. Whether in odd corners of the stock market or in dodgy-looking private placements, anything offering a respectable current income is bound to get at least a little attention.

    It’s easy enough to understand why. The 10-year Treasury yields barely more than 2%, and traditionally high-yielding sectors like utilities and REITs yield less than 4%. Even “high-yield” junk bonds (and yes, you have to write “high-yield” in quotation marks these days) yield only 5.9%, and these come with the not-so-insignificant risk of default.


  • Swensen Takes All-Or-Nothing Approach to First-Quarter Transactions

    David Swensen - Swensen Takes All-Or-Nothing Approach To First-Quarter Transactions

    In the first quarter of 2015, as is frequently the case for him, guru David Swensen (Trades, Portfolio)’s stock transactions amounted to all or nothing. Not entirely, though. Swensen, the chief investment officer for Yale University since 1985, bought or sold stock in 11 companies in the quarter, and one – iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund ETF (EFA) – was a reduction in an existing stake.

    The rest, though, were either new stakes or divestitures for Swensen, who has been responsible for bringing in more than $16 billion in revenue for Yale during his tenure.


  • How To Dress For A Rainy Day – The Absolute Return Letter

    “It’s waiting that helps you as an investor, and a lot of people just can’t stand to wait.”

    Charlie Munger


  • Lessons from Jean-Marie Eveillard

    David Swensen - Lessons From Jean-Marie Eveillard

    Over the past few years, I've had the fortune to learn from a legendary value investor - Jean-Marie Eveillard (Trades, Portfolio). Below are the notes from my various meetings with him.

    On value investing - Value investing either clicks with you or not and perhaps only 5% of the market participants are genuine value investors.The important thing to remember is that value investing works, over the long run. He gave an example of a Japanese stock that was flat for 4 years before tripling in price. Non-value investors may say too bad it was flat for four years before it worked out. Genuine value investors would say if you think the stock will worth three times 5 years from now, it does not matter whether it triples during the last year or progressively throughout the 5 year period. This way of thinking cannot be taught.


  • David Swensen bought PBPB and GE

    David Swensen (Trades, Portfolio) has been the chief investment officer at Yale University since 1985. He is responsible for managing and investing the university's endowment assets and investment funds, which total over $22 billion. Realizing an annual return of more than 17.2% on his investments over the last ten years, Swensen has added more than $16 billion to Yale's coffers. Swensen also outperformed 99% of U.S.-based mutual funds.

    He is chiefly noted for having invented what has become known as The Yale Model, a mechanism for Multi-Asset Class Investing. He purposely diversifies the portfolio across a broad range including typical stocks, bonds, real estate, timber and private investments like venture capital and leverage plans.


  • Swensen Buys Two Stocks in Third Quarter

    David Swensen - Swensen Buys Two Stocks In Third Quarter

    The third quarter of 2014 was the least active trading quarter for guru David Swensen (Trades, Portfolio) in five years. Swensen, the chief investment officer at Yale University, traded in only five stocks in the third quarter.

    Perhaps Swensen has been devoting most of his attention to his job. A Wall Street veteran when he took the post at Yale in 1985, Swensen is credited with raising the value of the school’s endowment assets and investment funds to nearly $24 billion, which is worth more than 15 times its value when Swensen took the job.


  • Creating an 11.2% Portfolio from Andreas Halvorsen, David Swensen, Steve Mandel, John Griffin and Lee Ainslee Top Dividend Picks

    Ask most income-seeking investors what they like best about dividend stocks, and they'll tell you the obvious answer: their current yield. But if you want to be a smarter long-term dividend investor, you have to go beyond current yields to learn the secret of dividend longevity — in order to make sure those payouts will keep coming year after year, decade after decade. That is why it is essential to evaluate each company's dividend history, payout ratio and business stability.

    It's easy to let those high yields tempt you into being short-sighted with your dividend investing. But for most investors, it's just as important to keep dividends coming far into the future as it is to reap rewards right now.  

  • The Manual of Ideas: The Model Portfolio Issue, October 2011

    This is an overview of the 111-page October 2011 monthly issue of The Manual of Ideas, entitled The Model Portfolio Issue.

    Great ideas are the lifeblood of the investment business and the exclusive focus of The Manual of Ideas. Authored by investment and finance professionals who have grown up on the teachings of Ben Graham, Warren Buffett and Joel Greenblatt, and have studied under or worked with luminaries such as Yale Chief Investment Officer David Swensen and Economics Nobel Laureate James Tobin, MOI delivers timely, differentiated investment ideas. In a market flooded with data and opinion, we deliver clarity.  

  • David Swensen Yale Lecture

    I figured this would be a good time to share a lecture I have enjoyed by David Swensen.

    Swensen is the chief investment officer of the Yale Endowment, which has outperformed other large institutions over a long period of time. He helped pioneer the “Yale Model” which has been copied by other institutions. His full list of qualifications can be found on his wikipedia article.  

  • Yale Endowment Fund Buys Berkshire Hathaway, Franklin Resources, Higher One, Sells SPY, EEM, OEF, EFA

    Yale Endowment Fund just reported its second quarter portfolio. The fund sold most of its ETF holdings and bought financial companies like Berkshire Hathaway, Franklin Resources, Higher One. As of 06/30/2011, Yale University owns 6 stocks with a total value of $17 million. These are the details of the buys and sells.

    Yale endowment manager David Swensen is good at picking good investors. He manages a part of the endowment portfolio, too. Swensen’s management style has been widely imitated among endowment funds.  

  • Yale Endowment Fund Loads Up EEM

    Yale Endowment Fund just reported its first quarter portfolio. The fund is managed by David Swensen, who has built his fame for the outstanding performances of the fund. The fund buys Ishares MSCI Emerging Market Income ETF, Dionex Corp., Approach Resources Inc., sells Theravance Inc., The Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Genomic Health Inc., Savvis Inc. during the 3-months ended 03/31/2011, according to the most recent filings of his investment company, Yale University. As of 03/31/2011, Yale Endowment Fund owns 7 stocks with a total value of $117 million. These are the details of the buys and sells.

    This is the portfolio chart of David Swensen. You can click on the legend of the chart to show/hide buys, sells, or holdings. Each ball on the chart represents a position in the portfolio. You can move your mouse on the balls to see the details of each position and click to see the details of all guru trades with this position.  

  • John Rogers Buys Viacom Inc., Lazard Ltd, Morgan Stanley, Sells Pitney Bowes Inc., American Express Company

    Slow is fast for John Rogers, manager of the Ariel Fund. In a recent interview, he said that he is "extraordinarily comfortable" with the stock market at these levels. John's investment philosophy centers around buying small and medium-sized companies whose share prices are undervalued. He calculates what the private market value would be on such companies and buys those trading at a significant discounts to his figures.

    John Rogers buys Viacom Inc., Lazard Ltd, Morgan Stanley, Apollo Group Inc., Myriad Pharmaceuticals Inc., Advanced Photonix Inc, American Reprographics Company, Forward Industries Inc., Tom Online Inc. Ads, Edgewater Technology Inc., sells Pitney Bowes Inc., American Express Company during the 3-months ended 09/30/2009, according to the most recent filings of his investment company, ARIEL CAPITAL MANAGEMENT LLC. John Rogers owns 98 stocks with a total value of $4.5 billion. These are the details of the buys and sells.  

  • Yale Endowment Fund Buys Rackspace Hosting Inc, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Sells Acadia Realty Trust, ArcSight Inc., Douglas Emmett Inc.

    Yale endowment manager David Swensen is good at picking good investors. He manages a part of the endowment portfolio, too. This is his Q3 portfolio update. Swensen buys Rackspace Hosting Inc, JPMorgan Chase & Co., sells Acadia Realty Trust, Arcsight Inc., Douglas Emmett Inc., Infinera Corp., Tivo Inc. during the 3-months ended 09/30/2009, according to the most recent filings of his investment company, Yale University. David Swensen owns 7 stocks with a total value of $5 million. These are the details of the buys and sells.

    For the details of David Swensen's stock buys and sells, go to http://www.gurufocus.com/StockBuy.php?GuruName=David+Swensen  

  • David Swensen Top Stocks: Douglas Emmett Inc., Acadia Realty Trust, Infinera Corp., TiVo Inc.

    (GuruFocus, October 10, 2009) FT’s US managing editor Chrystia Freeland had a lunch with Investment Guru David Swensen and published a write-up in FT.com. It provides a glimpse of what occupies the mind of Swensen these days.

    Individual investors will have a hard time to mimic how Swensen manages his money, for much of the Yale Endowment is placed in illiquid asset such as private equity and real estate. The return has been good, since he took helm of the endowment. For the past ten years, Yale’s endowment fund posted average annual gains of 16.3 per cent, including banner returns of 41 per cent in 2000 and 28 per cent in 2007, according to the Freeland article. But for the fiscal year ended on June 30, 2009, the fund was down 24.6%.  

  • Reviewing Swensen's Pioneering Portfolio Management

  • New GuruFocus Feature Announced: ETFs in Gurus’ Portfolios

    (GuruFocus, July 31, 2009) GuruFocus is pleased to announce the creation of a new page that shows ETFs held in our Gurus’ portfolios. On the page, we list the number of Gurus who own the ETF, number of the Gurus who bought and sold the ETF in the past quarter, and the combined weightings of the ETF in Gurus’ portfolio.

    Spider Gold Shares (GLD), Spider S&P500 ( SPY), Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF), iShares Russell 1000 Value Index Fund (IWD) are among the top ETFs owned by Investment Gurus whom we track.  

  • David Swensen Keeps Playbook

    WSJ: What about fund of funds and consultants? Can they be a solution?

    Mr. Swensen: Fund of funds are a cancer on the institutional-investor world. They facilitate the flow of ignorant capital. If an investor can't make an intelligent decision about picking managers, how can he make an intelligent decision about picking a fund-of-funds manager who will be selecting hedge funds? There's also more fees on top of existing fees. And the best managers don't want fund-of-fund money because it is unreliable. You need to be in the top 10% of hedge funds to succeed. In a fund of funds, you will likely be excluded from the best managers. [Mr.] Madoff also relied enormously on these intermediaries. He wouldn't have had nearly as much resources were it not for fund of funds.  

  • Yale’s Swensen Buying Corporate Debt to Offset $6 Billion Loss

    Yale University is buying debt to help its endowment recover after losing almost $6 billion in the last six months amid the global financial crisis.

    “There are some really extraordinary opportunities in the credit world,” said David Swensen, the school’s investment chief, in a phone interview on Dec. 30 from his office at the New Haven, Connecticut, university. “Everything, from bank loans to investment-grade bonds to less-than-investment grade bonds, is priced at really extraordinarily cheap levels.”  

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