News

The Path to Public Service at SEAS

News

Should Supreme Court Justices Have Term Limits? That ‘Would Be Fine,’ Breyer Says at Harvard IOP Forum

News

Harvard Right to Life Hosts Anti-Abortion Event With Students For Life President

News

Harvard Researchers Debunk Popular Sleep Myths in New Study

News

Journalists Discuss Trump’s Effect on the GOP at Harvard IOP Forum

Despite 'Disappointing' Year, Salaries at HMC Skyrocket

By R. ALAN Leo

Despite what their own president termed a "somewhat disappointing" year, officials at the Harvard Management Company (HMC) once again received record compensation, according to documents recently filed with the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office.

Far exceeding past top compensation packages, the six highest-paid executives received an average compensation of $2,548,928 each for fiscal year 1995, up 57 percent from fiscal year 1994's average of $1,624,069.

HMC manages the investments of Harvard's $7 billion endowment. Although last year's 16.7 percent return in fiscal year 1995 exceeded the returns of recent years, a strong market meant that this year's return was middling when compared to other management firms.

In his annual report, HMC President Jack R. Meyer called the returns from 1995 "somewhat disappointing." Indeed, 1995 was the first time in four years that HMC fell short of its performance benchmark--the return HMC officials predict at the beginning of the fiscal year.

Meyer, who made $1,221,748 last year and gave himself a raise of less than 1 percent, declined to comment yesterday. Meyer has not granted an interview to The Crimson in several years.

Leading the HMC salary pack once again was Senior Vice President for Equity Jonathan S. Jacobson, whose compensation package totalled a record $6,137,744, a 107 percent increase from the previous year, and a 379 percent increase from fiscal year 1993.

If Jacobson had been included in Financial World magazine's 1995 list of Wall Street's top 100 earners, he would have ranked in the top 90, alongside the CEO of Merrill Lynch.

Rounding out the five top earners in fiscal 1995 were David R. Mittelman, senior vice president for fixed income, $3,772,039; Jeffrey B. Larson, senior vice president for foreign equity, 1,466,022; and Robert G. Atchinson, senior vice president for equity, $1,047,090.

Each of the top five earners received a $22,562 contribution to his benefit plan.

The question of whether the money managers earned their keep is still debatable.

According to the HMC's 1996 annual letter, the University's endowment returned 16.8 percent last year, up from 9.8 percent in fiscal year 1994.

However, in fiscal 1994 Harvard's returns ranked in the top 5 percent of institutional funds with assets between $1 and $10 billion, according to the Trust Universe Comparison Service (TUCS). But in fiscal 1995 Harvard's endowment returned below the 16.9 percent TUCS median.

Meanwhile, HMC's best-paid employee, Jacobson, took home more than 20 times what President Neil L. Rudenstine did.

"For the average professor, for him to see those kinds of salaries blows his mind," said Ernest E. Monrad '51, a Boston-based investor and longtime fund-raiser for the University.

But Business School Professor W. Carl Kester noted that salaries which blow minds in academia are often par for the course in the world of finance.

"If you recognize that what they are is a group of professional money managers managing a very large portfolio...then you will say 'yes, that is within the ballpark,'" Kester said.

"I think what matters is, how much value are they adding?" Kester said

But Business School Professor W. Carl Kester noted that salaries which blow minds in academia are often par for the course in the world of finance.

"If you recognize that what they are is a group of professional money managers managing a very large portfolio...then you will say 'yes, that is within the ballpark,'" Kester said.

"I think what matters is, how much value are they adding?" Kester said

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

Tags