Wilshire, Northern Trust: Asset owners post 4.4% gains in third quarter

Trusts in the Wilshire Trust Universe Comparison Service posted a median return of 4.42% during the third quarter of 2013. The one-year median return through Sept. 30 was 11.32%.

Median annualized three-, five- and 10-year returns in the same time period were 9.39%, 7.9% and 7.17%, respectively.

According to Wilshire Associates, 98% of asset owners registered positive gains during the three months ended Sept. 30.

Among plan types, public pension funds had the highest quarterly median returns at 4.92%, followed by Taft-Hartley defined benefit plans at 4.77%. Foundations and endowments had a median return of 4.48% for the quarter, while corporate pension funds returned 4.08%.

One-year median returns in descending order were Taft-Hartley (13.29%), public (12.73%), foundations and endowments (11.67%) and corporate (9.58%).

Median three-year annualized returns through Sept. 30 were Taft-Hartley (10.35%), public (10.2%), corporate (9.48%), and foundations and endowments (8.8%).

Finally, median 10-year annualized returns were corporate (7.42%), foundations and endowments (7.35%), public (7.18%) and Taft-Hartley (6.74%).

Robert J. Waid, managing director at Wilshire said in a news release that “performance differences can be attributed to exposure to the U.S. equity extended market given the 10.48% return of the Wilshire 4500 Completion index vs. the 6.03% return of the Wilshire 5000 Total Market index.”

Public funds with greater than $5 billion in assets, said Mr. Waid, benefited from having the largest median exposure to international equities, as the MSCI ACWI ex-U.S. index posted a 10.09% return during the quarter.

Separately, Northern Trust's institutional clients returned a median 4.4% during the three months ended Sept. 30, according to a news release.

Data from the Northern Trust Universe show that median public pension funds returned 4.9% in the third quarter, followed by corporate pension funds (4.4%), and foundations and endowments (4.3%).

Over the one-year period, public funds had a median return of 12.9%; foundations and endowments, 12.1%; and corporate pension funds, 9.7%.

Median annualized five-year returns through Sept. 30 for the Northern Trust Universe were 8.7% for corporate pension funds, 8.1% for their public counterparts, and 7% for foundations and endowments.