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Photo: Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Yale's legendary chief investment manager David Swensen has died after a long battle with cancer, the university's president announced Thursday.

The big picture: Swensen had one major insight that utterly transformed the world of endowments, foundations, and sovereign wealth funds: That investors pay a substantial premium for liquidity.

  • As the steward of a perpetuity (the Yale endowment) that brings in fresh donations every year, Swensen realized he didn't need liquidity, and so could capture a substantial premium to the market by investing in illiquid assets instead.
  • The growth of venture capital over the past 30 years owes much to Swensen, as does similar growth in other alternative assets such as private equity, hedge funds, and even timberland.

Our thought bubble: As Swensen would be the first to say, don't try this at home. Liquidity is fantastic for individual investors. But Swensen's core insight underpins the investing philosophy of major institutional investors around the world.

Go deeper

Updated 8 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.