The Investment Fund for Foundations (TIFF) in 2009

Posted: 18 Apr 2012

See all articles by Luis M. Viceira

Luis M. Viceira

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Brendon Parry

Harvard Business School

Date Written: February 4, 2010


In late June 2009, management at The Investment Fund for Foundations (TIFF) was considering expanding the footprint of the TIFF Diversified Fund (TDF), the first truly comprehensive endowment management vehicle offered under the TIFF banner. The recent large capital losses suffered by most endowments, including those of Harvard and Yale, had motivated some to question the two basic premises of the endowment investment model-that investors get rewarded for bearing illiquidity, and that a diversified blend of asset classes and strategies provides meaningful protection against capital losses under virtually all market conditions. Despite this questioning, the investment professionals at TIFF were convinced that this model remained viable as a means of generating superior long-term returns, and that TDF was a vehicle that provided TIFF's current and potential clients access to this model. But they were aware that they would need to increase their efforts to educate their clients on the benefits of this comprehensive approach to investing, and also to reflect on whether to modify the current structure of TDF, particularly regarding its liquidity provisions.

Learning Objective: To discuss the validity of the endowment investment model in the context of the financial and economic crisis of 2008-2009. To discuss how to best structure a comprehensive investment vehicle that includes hard to value illiquid asset classes when it is offered to multiple investors.

Suggested Citation

Viceira, Luis M. and Parry, Brendon, The Investment Fund for Foundations (TIFF) in 2009 (February 4, 2010). Harvard Business School Finance Case No. 210-008. Available at SSRN:

Luis M. Viceira (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-6331 (Phone)
617-496-6592 (Fax)


National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Brendon Parry

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

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