Based on as yet unaudited returns, I am pleased to report that the Academy's finances in 2014 remained strong. As of December 31, despite unforeseen expenses that arose during the year, preliminary reports show a savings on the order of $114,100 against budget. As a result, funds not spent in 2014 will remain in our total of invested funds where they will translate into increased investment earnings down the road. Moreover, thanks to projections of continued savings, it has been possible to set the budgeted drawdown on our investments for 2015 at 3.85 percent instead of the 5 percent allowed by our spending policy. Over time, we may wish to think about mission-appropriate uses that such “surpluses” might underwrite. For the present, however, we can be pleased to think of these de facto additions to our investment principal as offsets against earlier draws on our invested funds that exceeded 5 percent for a number of years.
As stipulated in the Academy's Investment Policy Statement, the Finance Committee has recently completed its annual review of our investment manager's performance. The results of this review were positive. Over the seven-year period 2008–2014 the Academy's invested funds under management grew by almost 42 percent net of fees. The committee compared this growth to that of a blended index of stocks and bonds, which grew by less than 30 percent over the same period of time. Based on this comparison and other favorable performance measures, the Finance Committee expressed its satisfaction with Credit-Suisse's investment management performance for the year.
Investments are not, of course, the only means by which an organization's assets grow. On this score, the Finance Committee expresses its sincere thanks to donors to the Olivia Remie Constable Award for endowment gifts that will continue to memorialize that Fund's namesake even as they address an important need facing the Academy and its membership. Such gifts underscore our obligation to see that our investments, along with correlative financial matters, are handled wisely and well.
In this regard, the Academy's finances reached an important milestone this year with the decision reached by the Executive Committee, and fully supported by the Finance Committee, to engage the services of an outside firm to assess our handling of matters ranging in scope from the ongoing oversight and reporting on our finances to the mundane but important details of daily office procedures. This firm will make recommendations geared to promoting the effectiveness and efficiency of our performance in the foregoing areas and, as appropriate, will provide ongoing guidance to assure that we are able to sustain best practices in the fulfillment of our financial policies and procedures.
As the Academy's Treasurer, I am particularly pleased that this process has been initiated: as our total of invested funds grows, we have even more reason to be sure that our systems and practices meet the highest standards. As of December 31, 2014, the Academy's directly owned investments totaled $7,808,479. Together with $1,443,251 in invested funds that we manage on behalf of the Richard III Society, we are now responsible for the prudent investment and handling of funds that have grown to a total of more than $9.2 million.
From the standpoint of the Finance Committee this project will complement and build upon systems put in place over the past three years and will further insure the accuracy and timeliness of financial reporting, including interim year-to-date summaries of performance against budget for the Finance Committee's review.
For her effective work in managing the process that led to the selection of Accounting Management Solutions to fill the role of outside consultant in this case, as well as for her forward-looking vision of the Academy's smooth fiscal operations, the Finance Committee would like to express its special thanks to our Executive Director, Lisa Fagin Davis. In closing, I would like to express my own warm thanks to the members of the Finance Committee for their ongoing dedication and wise counsel.
Eugene W. Lyman, Treasurer