A few weeks ago, the Economist had a story on universities that tried to employ the “Yale model” for investing their endowments without actually knowing what they were doing:
The model may also have been adopted by endowments that were too small for it. “You need to be very big and very diversified, and to be sophisticated enough to understand the risk management of complex investments,” says Anthony Knerr, who advises universities on funding strategies. Some of the hardest hit may be smaller endowments that adopted a “Yale-lite” strategy that they did not really understand. They may also have been unable to invest in the best hedge funds and private-equity firms, which have (until now) been able to pick and choose between investors.
But this is 2009; no one should have to suffer the consequences of one’s own bad judgement any more. So the latest institution to look for a Federal bailout is the University of Virginia.