Institutional assets tracked by the Wilshire Trust Universe Comparison Service (Wilshire TUCS) saw a median return of 3.59% for all plan types in the fourth quarter and a median one-year gain of 14.72%.
This compares to a 60/40 portfolio, which trailed the median plan return, at 14.52%.
“This quarter marked the ninth consecutive positive quarter, the longest string of positive quarterly returns for all plan types since June 1998, which marked a string of 14 positive quarters in a row,” says Robert J. Waid, managing director, Wilshire Associates. “Fourth quarter returns boosted the one-year return to 14.72% for the year ending December 31, 2017, compared to 7.24% for the year ending December 31, 2016. This was the best one-year return since the year ending June 30, 2014, ended with 15.51% and fourth consecutive quarter to post an annual return above 10%.”
Wilshire TUCS returns were supported by continued strong performance across all major asset classes. The Wilshire 5000 Total Market Index returned 6.39% for the fourth quarter and 20.99% for the year ending December 31, 2017, while the MSCI AC World ex U.S. for international equities rose 5% in the fourth quarter and 27.19% for the year. The Wilshire Bond Index also gained 0.89% in the fourth quarter and 4.82% for the year.
This resulted in a positive range of median plan-type returns in the fourth quarter, as the low median return was 2.76% for Taft Hartley Health and Welfare funds and the high median return was 3.74% for Public funds with assets greater than $1 billion. For one-year returns, the low median return was 12.30% for Taft Hartley Health and Welfare funds and the high median return was 15.96% for Public funds with assets greater than $5 billion.
Corporate funds had a fourth quarter return of 3.51% and a one-year return of 14.61%. Public funds had a fourth quarter return of 3.73% and a one-year return of 15.17%. For foundations and endowments, returns were 3.57% and 14.72%, respectively, and for Taft Hartley defined benefit (DB) plans they were 3.7% and 15.06%, respectively.