STC: DC Investments Start 2003 on Upswing

June 17, 2003 ( - Defined contribution plan investments saw positive returns in the first quarter of 2003, en route to besting their broader market yardsticks.

Overall, investment returns for every category were positive and all but the two most conservative categories were up significantly from 2002 annualized returns.   A major driving force behind this run up was the upswing in Individual Directed Brokerage Accounts (IDA), reporting a return on investment (ROI) of 3.15% for the quarter after being down 7.64% in 2002, according to the Security Trust Company (STC) Quarterly Defined Contribution Investment Returns Index.

The other two investment categories showed similar returns.   Separately managed accounts (SMA) reversed last year’s negative 7.54% ROI to turn in a positive 2.25% for the first quarter. Likewise, core option mutual funds turned an 8.12% ROI in the red for 2002 around to end the latest period up 3.80%.   

Within the core option, all asset classes were up, with the vast majority besting their 2002 performance.   Leading the pack, foreign equity funds returned 6.52%, followed by value funds’ 6.28% performance.   Other returns included:

  • Small cap funds (4.97%)
  • Large cap funds (3.73%)
  • Mid cap funds (3.32%)
  • Blend funds (2.35%)
  • Growth funds (2.20%)
  • Bond funds (2.06%)
  • Money market/stable value funds (0.71%).

Even though bond funds and money market/stable value funds were the only categories that showed lower returns than 2002 annualized returns, all categories out-performed industry averages for the quarter.  The NASD Composite showed a 0.58% return, the S&P 500 was down 3.15%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 3.64% lower.

The STC Index compares the return on investments in Core Mutual Fund Accounts, SMAs, and IDAs for the first quarter of 2003 to previous annualized returns.   The sampling for the first quarter index consists of 2,065 plans serviced by STC, totaling approximately $8.5 billion in assets.  The 2,065 plans include 3,675 IDAs and 215 separately managed accounts.