In the world of endowment management, where the investment horizon may extend over centuries, investment decisions to support the objectives of endowed institutions pose a unique set of challenges. This chapter addresses the issues surrounding the definition of the investment objective. The establishment of a benchmark or policy portfolio for some endowments is a way of defining the investment objective, with the benchmark asset allocation reflecting that objective. Thus, the benchmark allocation of assets is responsible for providing resources for current operations while preserving purchasing power of assets in the long term. The benchmark therefore reflects the institution's approach to various aspects of managing the endowment, including risk.
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