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Top Minds: The endowment overseer

Joe Mont | April 17, 2018

Kathryn Murtagh serves as managing director and chief compliance officer for Harvard Management Company. The firm was formed in 1974 to manage Harvard University’s endowment and related financial assets.

Harvard’s endowment consists of more than 13,000 individual funds invested as a single entity; it remains the largest source of revenue supporting the University budget.

For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2017, the return on the Harvard endowment was 8.1 percent and the value of the endowment was $37.1 billion. It provides a critical source of funding for the University, distributing $1.8 billion in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017—contributing over a third of Harvard’s total operating revenue in that year. Funding is restricted to specific programs, departments, or purposes and must be spent in accordance with terms set forth by the donor.

Since joining HMC in 2006, Murtagh has built an internal legal and compliance function for the endowment, while...

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