Decisions on allocating the donated funds are made by the governing body of each fund. The University’s basic capital also includes an amount of donated funds, and the rector decides on the use of their returns.
The donated funds in the basic capital and in the University's Funds are covered by the shared asset management of the University of Helsinki and its funds. Shared asset management means in this case that the funds are invested in a single arrangement. The University guarantees annual returns of 5-7% for the capital of the donated funds. The income allocated to the endowment funds as well as whether a management fee is to be paid is decided each year by the Board of the University in conjunction with preparing the financial statement.
Assets from the funds are invested in real estate, the University Pharmacy, the University’s research-based start-up companies and securities. External portfolio managers attend to the securities portfolios.
At the end of 2015, the total capital of all endowment funds was €130 million. The endowment funds received a return on investment of approximately 5%. The funds distributed grants and provided other support worth approximately €550,000 and funded nearly 100 professorships and other positions.
The University of Helsinki Funds is a dependent fund which is managed separately from other University bookkeeping, consisting of the University’s donated funds and its traditional assets, and it is a part of the University of Helsinki Group. The funds are covered by the Universities Act (chapter 8, section 75). The University of Helsinki Board also serves as the board of the University of Helsinki Funds. A financial statement and an annual report are drafted on the finances and operations of the Funds each year.
The University of Helsinki has raised funds for its basic capital in 2010-2011 and from 2014 onwards.
Each fund has a set of operational rules, which the University’s chief financial officer primarily approves. The rules stipulate the fund’s purpose and governing body as well as the latter’s duties. The governing body of the fund is responsible for the use of its assets, and decides on the scholarships and grants to be opened for applications. The University’s chief financial officer appoints the governing bodies for the funds. The governing bodies of field-specific funds usually include professors, researchers, teachers and a student representative in the field as well as the University’s administrative staff. In addition, the governing bodies of independent funds often include the donor or the donor’s representative. Each governing body is responsible for using the assets of the fund in question.
The University of Helsinki Board also serves as the board of the University’s funds. Primarily, the decisions on the establishment of a fund, its rules and the appointment of its governing body are made by the University’s chief financial officer, and in some cases, the rector. University Services staff are responsible for the management of funds and usually serve as secretaries on the governing bodies of endowment funds. The University Services' Community Relations unit is responsible for donor relations, preparing the establishment of new funds, editing the annual report of funds, and organising their annual celebration. Financial Services is responsible for the financial management and investment of donated funds. The University’s Teaching and Learning Services organises the application processes for grants awarded by funds.
Between 2010 and 2011, the University of Helsinki raised funds for its basic capital. These fundraising efforts were related to the pledge from the Finnish government to invest €2.5 into the basic capital of a university for each donated euro raised by that university. During the campaign, donations worth more than €18.2 million were made to the University of Helsinki’s basic capital. Compiled with the government’s 2.5-fold capital investment, the total capital of this fund is approximately €64 million. The endowed funds under the basic capital are not part of the University of Helsinki Funds, but are included in its basic capital. The rector decides on how the annual returns from the donated funds in the basic capital are to be used.
The new (from 2014) University of Helsinki’s 375 Future Fund is also part of the University’s own capital. The Future Fund and the named funds established in its conjunction (based on donations of €10,000 or more) are managed as part of the University’s overall asset management. Investments based on private donations or the governmental matched-funding scheme are made to the University of Helsinki’s basic capital, and the University only uses the returns on its capital.
Decisions on using the returns on the donated funds in the basic capital are made annually as part of the University’s budget and operative planning.
Investment activities are guided by the Principles for responsible investment activities approved by the University Board on June 12, 2019. University of Helsinki has now published its first Annual Report on Responsible Investments. Read more about University's responsible investment.