Q409 Sees 3.3% Return in BNY Mellon Universe

February 16, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – The median plan in the BNY Mellon U.S. Master Trust Universe posted a 3.3%-return for the fourth quarter of 2009, the third straight positive quarter, according to the latest data from the BNY Mellon U.S. Master Trust Universe.

A BNY Mellon news release said 99% of the plans in the universe posted positive results for the three-month period ending December 31, 2009.  For the twelve months ending December 31, 2009, a similar pattern is evident with just a single plan posting a return below zero.

Year-to-date returns are up almost 20%, a significant contrast to 2008 when many investors were in the red by almost 25%, BNY Mellon said.

Endowments and Foundations were the top performers in the fourth quarter, returning 3.7% and 3.6% respectively, as alternative strategies started to rebound, the news release indicated. The Endowments and Foundations were followed by, public, corporate pensions, Taft-Hartley and health care plans. 

For the full calendar year, Corporate Pensions had the strongest returns with a median showing of 21%, BNY Mellon said.

Nearly 15% of the plans matched or outperformed the custom policy return of 4.18% in the fourth quarter.  For the twelve-month period, 29% of the plans matched or outperformed the custom policy return of 22.67%, the announcement said.

In terms of asset classes, BNY Mellon said U.S. equities led for the quarter with a median return of 5.87%, compared to the Russell 3000 Index return of 5.90%. Non-U.S. equities returned 3.43%, lagging the MSCI All Country World ex US Index return of 4.13%. 

U.S. fixed income posted a result of 0.92%, versus the Barclays Capital U.S. Aggregate Bond Index return of 0.20%.  Non-U.S. fixed income posted a median return of 1.15%, ahead of theCitigroup Non-US Dollar World Government Bond Index return of -2.15%. 

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 26%, non-U.S. equity 17%, non-U.S. fixed income 2%, alternative investments 9%, real estate 2%, cash 1%, and other (oil, gas, etc.) 9%.

With a market value of $1.16 trillion and an average plan size of $1.66 billion, the Universe consists of 699 corporate, foundation, endowment, public, Taft-Hartley and health care plans.

More information is at www.bnymellon.com .