NEPC Survey: Healthcare Institutions’ Investments Performed Well in 2020; Mindful of Inflation Moving Forward

BOSTON--()--NEPC, LLC, one of the largest independent, research-driven investment consulting firms, today announced its 2021 Healthcare Operating Survey results, showcasing past perspective, present concerns, and future outlook of U.S. healthcare systems. The results illustrate the healthcare industry’s relatively optimistic outlook for investments.

“The post-Covid healthcare investment landscape will be defined by long-term, diversified portfolios impacted by ESG-related themes,” said Kevin Novak, Senior Consultant on NEPC’s Healthcare Team. “While rising rates and inflation are near-term concerns, healthcare insiders remain optimistic about markets.”

Past Perspective

Median annual investment performance across all respondents was 10.6% in 2020 with larger systems (>$1B in assets) generating the highest returns, largely driven by their higher investment risk profiles.

NEPC’s 2020 survey showed 61% of healthcare organizations furloughed staff and 43% suspended or postponed retirement plan contributions, or planned to do so. This year’s survey revealed that the majority have reversed these measures, with only 9% keeping them in place, pointing to the overall health of the industry.

Present Concerns

Changing interest rates was cited as the greatest threat to near-term performance, with 63% of respondents expecting higher rates by year-end.

Global inflation was also identified as a significant threat, however, 67% said the prospect of inflation hasn’t resulted in changes to portfolios.

Future Outlook

Healthcare systems appear optimistic. Following 2020’s robust returns, 76% believe the S&P 500 will deliver returns of 6% or more this year. Respondents are also bullish on private markets with 46% planning to increase allocations, whereas only 3% are planning to decrease allocations.

When asked about investment trends, 72% indicated ESG is somewhat important or very important, with larger systems placing more emphasis on this trend than smaller systems.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is another key trend with 29% indicating they have, or are considering creating, formal DEI goals for their portfolio.

For the full survey results of NEPC’s 2021 Healthcare Operating Survey, click here.


NEPC is an independent investment consultant and private wealth advisor, serving 391 retainer clients and $1.3 trillion in total assets. Combining a proprietary research team dedicated to the long-term challenges facing investors with our unique client-centric model, NEPC builds forward-looking investment portfolios for healthcare institutions and systems. To learn more about NEPC, visit


Corey Law


Corey Law