Volume 92, Issue 34

Wednesday, November 4, 1998

millions of bad feelings


Millions in Western's piggy bank

By Sabrina Carinci
Gazette Staff

Millions of dollars in stocks and bonds are collecting money in Western's name and their worth is fluctuating from day to day.

As of June 30, 1998, the university's stocks and bonds amounted to approximately $182 million. At the end of September, however, the monies had decreased to approximately $168 million, said Diane Stechly-Hoover, a treasury analyst in the finance department at Western.

The decrease in money isn't anything which should be too worrisome, said Peter Mercer, Western's VP-administration. "There may have been a payout or the equity market may have decreased," he said, adding both are possibilities when dealing with these bonds and equities.

Dave Small, VP-finance for the University Students' Council, said he was unaware of the university's investments and was unsure what the monies are being used for. "It's possibly for the one-two-five campaign," he said. "But if there's money in stocks, then they have professionals managing it – so it's not just under the mattress."

Small said he is aware Western is behind bigger schools with respect to scholarship and endowment funds. "The university has big plans to endow funds for scholarships," he said.

According to Stechly-Hoover, the money the university has invested is fairy complex and not easy to explain. "Basically, it's operating and endowment money," she said. "It's always been here, always."

Stechly-Hoover explained the operating grants are received by the university from the government on an annual basis, whereas the endowment portion is received by donors, such as alumni.

Stechly-Hoover also stressed the importance of understanding the fact that money which is endowed to the university is never spent. Instead, only the money generated by the university's investment is used for such things as bursaries, scholarships or whatever else the donor requests.

The money invested by the university is separated into bonds, as well as Canadian, American and foreign equities, Stechly-Hoover said.

"The university, at any time, has cash in reserve – there's a portfolio of money, but it's targeted," Mercer said. He added students should not assume the money is just extra.

Mercer assured by investing money, the university frequently increases and decreases the value of its stock. He added there are various committees and managers who constantly monitor the valve of the equity market to assure a moderate balance of risk.

"We attempt to distribute risk – we seek a reasonable amount of return," he said.

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Copyright The Gazette 1998