“Public plans were the top performers in the fourth quarter, returning 5.99%, due to their relatively greater allocations to U.S. equities,” said Greg Stewart, managing director and regional product manager of BNY Mellon Asset Servicing, in a press release. “However, for the full calendar year, corporate pensions had the strongest returns with a median result of 13.50%.”
For the fourth quarter, public plans were closely followed by Taft Hartley, foundations, endowments, corporate pensions and health care plans.BNY Mellon data showed 96% of plans posted positive results for the quarter ending December 31, 2010. For the twelve months ending December 31, 2010, all plans were in the black. Six percent of plans matched or outperformed the custom policy return of 8.06% for the fourth quarter. For the twelve-month period, 33% of the plans matched or outperformed the custom policy return of 13.78%.
According to the press release, U.S. equities were the dominant asset class for the quarter with the median return of 11.79%, compared to the Russell 3000 Index return of 11.59%. Non-U.S. equities posted 7.35% for the quarter, slightly ahead of the MSCI World ex USA Index result of 7.22%. The median return for non-U.S. fixed income was -0.75% compared to the Citigroup Non-U.S. World Government Bond Index return of -1.45%. U.S. fixed income was the lowest performing asset class for the quarter with a median return of -0.92%, versus the Barclays Capital U.S. Aggregate Bond Index return of -1.30%.
The average asset allocation in the BNY Mellon U.S. Master Trust Universe for the fourth quarter was U.S. equity 34%, U.S. fixed income 27%, non-U.S. equity 17%, non-U.S. fixed income 2%, alternative investments 10%, real estate 2%, cash 1%, and other (oil, gas, etc.) 7%.
With a market value of $1.16 trillion and an average plan size of $1.66 billion, the BNY Mellon U.S. Master Trust Universe is a fund-level tracking service that can be used to make peer comparisons of both performance and asset allocation results. The Universe consists of 698 corporate, foundation, endowment, public, Taft-Hartley and health care plans.