ICC Master Trust Bulls Ahead to 10.9% Second Quarter Advance

July 28, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Buoyed by strong equity returns and fixed income gains, the median master trust in the Independent Consultants Cooperative (ICC) universe - made up of US pensions, endowments and foundations - roared to a 10.9% second quarter gain.

According to the ICC, t he median US equity portfolio advanced 16.7%, while the median US bond portfolio rose 2.8%. Aided in part by the strengthened Euro, plans also profited from exposure to international markets. The median international developed markets equity portfolio jumped to an 18.8%-return while the median global bond portfolio was ahead by 4.5%.

The shift in asset allocation during the second quarter is in line with the disparity in equity and fixed income returns, according to ICC researchers. The median plan’s total bond exposure declined moderately to 32.6% at the close of the second quarter from 35.4% of total assets at the end of the first quarter. The duration of the median bond portfolio increased slightly from 3.84 to 3.94 years in the second quarter but remained appreciably lower than the 4.29 years registered this time last year.

Although all styles of domestic equity investing had exceptional results, there was a substantial 10% gap between the returns achieved by the most and the least successful strategies in the quarter: the median small cap growth portfolio return was 23.5%, while the median large cap growth portfolio pulled ahead by 13.5%. The median small cap and mid cap equity portfolios bested the median large cap portfolios. The median growth stock portfolios outperformed their value stock counterparts except in the case of large cap portfolios, where the value strategy triumphed.

The latest report represented a significant advance from the ICC’s first quarter data (See  ICC Master Trust Down 1.5% in First Quarter).  

The universe includes 17,800 portfolios in all asset classes, with an aggregate market value of $1.5 trillion. The portfolios are sponsored by approximately 1,400 organizations.