Summary: PAGE 1
Williams College Investment Report 2009
Williams College offers an undergraduate education second to none, made possible in part by its deep financial resources.
Managing the $1.4 billion endowment to serve the needs of today's students--while sustaining its value for future
generations--is the mission of the Investment Committee of the College's Board of Trustees, its Investment Advisory
Committees, and the Williams College Investment Office.
In addition to presenting fiscal year 2009 returns and historical data, this letter summarizes how the Williams endow-
ment is managed day by day and over the long term. Information on staffing, portfolio oversight, and how Williams
allocates assets and selects and monitors outside investment managers is also provided in this report.
Fiscal Year 2009 Context
While world markets dropped precipitously between July 2008 and June 2009, recent changes to Williams' long-term
strategic asset allocation--in particular the reduced exposure to US equities and the increased exposure to fixed-income
and absolute return investments--helped to mitigate the losses and decrease the volatility of the endowment's investment
returns. These portfolio management decisions, combined with low debt exposure and careful attention to the liquidity of
the portfolio, meant that Williams did not have to wrestle with the liquidity issues that forced some peer institutions
to borrow to support operations and/or try to sell private investments at distressed prices.
Fiscal Year 2009 Results and Annual Returns for the Past Ten Years
The Williams investment pool returned -18.42% for the year ending June 30, 2009--a 12-month period when the
broad US equity market was down over 26%. Clearly, FY 2009 was a challenging year. But Williams' portfolio has
weathered difficult years before, and the Board's approach to managing the endowment explicitly contemplates the