Third Quarter of Positive Returns for Master Trusts

May 14, 2013 ( – The median return of the BNY Mellon U.S. Master Trust Universe was 4.53% for the first quarter, marking the third consecutive quarter of positive returns.

This return was driven largely by strong U.S. equity performance, according to global investment firm BNY Mellon. Also, for the 12 months ending March 31, the median plan was up 10.05%.

“All plan types within the Universe reported gains for the first quarter, helped by a continued surge in U.S. equities,” said John Gruber, head of product strategy for BNY Mellon’s Global Risk Solutions group. “Public plans were the best performing segment, while an overweighting to U.S. fixed income by health care plans contributed to their relatively low performance.”

Other findings by BNY Mellon include: 

  • Almost all (99%) plans in the BNY Mellon Master Trust Universe returned positive results during the quarter. Over the prior 12-month period, 96% of plans were in the black;
  • Sixteen percent of plans matched or outperformed the custom policy return for first quarter. For the full year, 51% of plans outperformed the custom policy;
  • Public plans recorded the highest median return for the quarter (4.83%), followed by Taft-Hartley plans (4.74%);
  • U.S. equities posted a quarterly median return of 11.03% vs. the Russell 3000 Index return of 11.07%. Non-U.S. equities posted a median return of 4%, behind the Russell Developed ex US Large Cap Index result of 4.86%.
  • U.S. fixed income had a median return of 0.24% vs. the Barclays Capital U.S. Aggregate Bond Index return of -0.12%. Non-U.S. fixed income posted a median return of -0.62%, compared to the Citigroup Non-U.S. World Government Bond Index return of -3.83%; and
  • Real estate posted a median return of 2.73% vs. the NCREIF Property Index result of 2.57%.


The average asset allocation in the BNY Mellon U.S. Master Trust Universe for the first quarter was: U.S. equity (27%), U.S. fixed income (27%), non-U.S. equity (17%), non-U.S. fixed income (2%), real estate (3%), cash (1%), and alternatives/other (23%).

With a market value of more than $2.4 trillion and an average plan size of $3.8 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 612 corporate, foundation, endowment, public, Taft-Hartley and health care plans.