David Frederick Swensen (January 26, 1954 – May 5, 2021) was an American investor, endowment fund manager, and philanthropist. He was the chief investment officer at Yale University from 1985 until his death in May 2021. Swensen was responsible for managing and investing Yale's endowment assets and investment funds, which totaled $25.4 billion as of September 2016. As of September 2019 the total amount is $30.3 billion. He was considered to be the highest-paid employee in Yale, leading a team of about 30 employees. He invented The Yale Model with Dean Takahashi, an application of the modern portfolio theory commonly known in the investing world as the "Endowment Model." His investing philosophy has been dubbed the "Swensen Approach" and is unique in that it stresses allocation of capital in Treasury inflation protection securities, government bonds, real estate funds, emerging market stocks, domestic stocks, and developing world international equities.His investment success with the Yale Endowment has attracted the notice of Wall Street portfolio managers and other universities. "He's right up there with John Bogle, Peter Lynch, [Benjamin] Graham, and [David] Dodd as a major force in investment management," says Byron Wien, a longtime Wall Street strategist. Investment heads from universities such as Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Wesleyan, and the University of Pennsylvania have adopted his allocation strategies to mixed success. Under Swensen's guidance the Yale Endowment saw an average annual return of 11.8 percent from 1999 to 2009. As of the 2016 fiscal year, Yale's endowment had risen by 3.4%, the most out of any Ivy League school, according to Institutional Investor.Swensen was listed third on aiCIO's 2012, a list of the 100 most influential institutional investors worldwide. In 2008, he was inducted into Institutional Investors Alpha's Hedge Fund Manager Hall of Fame.
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