U.S. Master Trust Ahead in Q104

May 5, 2004 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Institutional investors including corporate and public pension funds enjoyed a 3.18% gain for the first quarter of 2004.

The Russell/Mellon U.S. Master Trust Universe, which focuses on a total of 510 funds including, foundation/endowment, and Taft-Hartley funds, found that 506 of the plans in the index ended the January to March period in the black.

The Universe’s median total fund also beat the 2.61% quarterly return of its benchmark (Russell 3000 Index 50%, LB Aggregate 40%, MSCI World ex-U.S. 10%). Approximately 76% of the plans bested the benchmark during the period.  

Of the varieties of plans in the universe, Foundations and Endowments was the top performer with a 3.4% return, followed by Public Plans (3.38%), Corporate (3.07%), and Taft Hartley (2.86%).  

Non-U.S. Equity drove first-quarter performance with a 4.91% return and outperformed the MSCI World ex-U.S. Index 4.31% return. The median plan in the U.S. Equity asset class followed with a gain of 3.02% compared to the Russell 3000 Index at 2.23%.   Non-U.S. Fixed Income (3.10%) outperformed the Citigroup World Government Bond Index non-U.S. (1.57%) and U.S. Fixed Income reflected a 2.68% gain, which barely beat the LB Aggregate return of 2.66%.

The average asset allocation in the U.S. Master Trust Universe for the first quarter changed slightly mainly due to increases in overall plan performance.   The average now is U.S. Equity 42%, U.S. Fixed Income 25%, non-U.S. Equity 19%, non-U.S. Fixed Income 2%, Alternative Investments 4%, Real Estate 3%, Cash 2%, and Other (Private Equity, Oil, Gas, etc.) 3%.

The U.S. Master Trust Universe represents a market value of $1.4 trillion with an average plan size of $2.8 billion.