Bears Batter Master Trust to Start 2003

May 6, 2003 ( - After touching positive territory in the previous quarter, the Russell/Mellon US Master Trust once again slipped into the negative to start 2003 lower.

The Master Trust ended the first quarter lower by 1.67%, down from the fourth quarter’s 4.47% rally (See  Bears Maul Master Trust in 2002 ).   Compared to its benchmark for the quarter, the median total fund outperformed the negative 2.24% quarterly return of the composite benchmark – made up of the Russell 3000 Index 60%, LB Aggregate 30% and MSCI EAFE 10%.

Overall, only 41 of the 426 corporate, foundation/endowment, and public funds that make up the Russell/Mellon US Master Trust Universe turned in a positive performance for the first quarter of 2003.   The universe represents a market value of $824 billion with an average plan size of $1.9 billion.

Quarterly Performance

Both the US and Non-US equity asset classes were negative for the quarter and underperformed their benchmarks. The US Equity asset class dropped 3.12%, underperforming the Russell 3000 Index quarterly return of negative 3.04%, while the median plan in the Non-US Equity asset class ended 8.09% lower, underperforming the FTSE World ex-US quarterly 7.48% return in the red.

Besting its benchmark was the median return in the US Fixed Income asset class, returning 1.87% and beating the LB Aggregate quarterly return of 1.39%.

The average asset allocation in the US Master Trust Universe for the first quarter was: 

  • US Equity 40%
  • US Fixed Income 28%
  • Non-US Equity 16%
  • Alternative Investments 6%
  • Other (Private Equity, Oil, Gas, etc.) 3%
  • Real Estate 3%
  • Cash 2%
  • Non-US Fixed Income 1%.