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MONEY MANAGEMENT

BNY Mellon plan universe posts fifth straight quarterly gain, up 7.53% for 2016

Plans in the BNY Mellon U.S. Master Trust Universe returned a median 0.57% and 7.53% in the three and 12 months ended Dec. 31, respectively.

The fourth quarter marks the fifth consecutive of positive overall performance, and third consecutive quarter of positive 12-month performance.

Endowments were the highest performing plan type for the quarter, returning 1.13%, followed by health-care plans at 1.11%; Taft-Hartley plans, 1.03%; foundations, 0.85%; public defined benefit plans, 0.72%; and corporate plans, -0.82%.

Endowments benefited from a higher allocation to private equity, which returned a median 2.85% for the universe in the fourth quarter, while corporate plans were hampered by a higher allocation to long-duration bonds, which returned a median -6.37% in the quarter, said Frances Barney, managing director, head of global risk solutions at BNY Mellon, in an email.

Looking at other asset classes, U.S. equities returned a median 4.13% for the universe in the fourth quarter, followed by real estate at 1.89%; non-U.S. equities, -1.86%; U.S. fixed income, -2.39%; and non-U.S. fixed income, -4.49%.

For the year, U.S. equities returned 12.66% for the universe; real estate, 8.72%; long-duration bonds, 7.91%; non-U.S. fixed income, 5.92%; U.S. fixed income, 4.27%; and non-U.S. equities, 4.1%.

Boosted by long-duration’s strong performance over the 12-month period, corporate DB plans posted the highest median return for the year (8.21%), followed by public DB plans at 7.81%; Taft-Hartley plans, 7.64%; health-care plans, 7.06%; and foundations, 6.92%. Dragged down by weak alternative returns in the third quarter, endowments posted the lowest median return for the year at 6.73%, Ms. Barney said.

For the three, five and 10 years ended Dec. 31, the universe returned an annualized median 4.53%, 8.15% and 5.18%, respectively.

The universe comprises 613 plans with a combined market value of more than $1.9 trillion and an average plan size of $5.1 billion.