Harvard Endowment Loses Top Bond Manager

BOSTON (Reuters) – The head of domestic debt investing at Harvard University will leave the Ivy League school’s multibillion dollar endowment at the end of the month, a Harvard official said on Monday.

Marc Seidner, who joined the endowment three years ago and earned $6.3 million last year, is the latest top investment manager to leave Harvard this year, the official said. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the university does not discuss personnel matters.

Seidner did not return calls seeking comment.

Harvard, like other university endowments, has suffered during the financial crisis. Its endowment shrunk about 22 percent to about $29 billion during the first four months of the fiscal year that began on July 1, 2008.

The school’s president Drew Faust warned that the losses could climb to 30 percent and the school was on track to deliver its worst returns in 40 years.

The sharp decline in the endowment forced Harvard to reduce expenses across the board and led Harvard Management Company to cut one-quarter of its investment management staff, or 50 jobs, earlier this year.

For years, Harvard’s investment record had prompted envy and admiration. By relying heavily on alternative investments like hedge funds and timber, the school delivered average annualized returns of 13.8 percent over the last decade. When the school faced a cash shortage during the credit crisis, it had to redeem some of those investments.

After Seidner leaves, Stephen Blythe will take over his duties during a transition period, the Harvard official said.

(Reporting by Ross Kerber and Svea Herbst-Bayliss. Editing by Jason Szep)