Taft-Hartley pension plans were the top performers in 1995, with a median return of 29.6%, according to data compiled by SEI Capital Resources, Chicago.
The runner-up - corporate pension funds with more than $100 million in assets - returned 27.5%; corporate funds with less than $100 million returned 27.1%.
Why did union funds outshine the rest to such a large degree? Jim Greene, director of the product/research group, speculates it might be because of the smaller weighting they have in international markets, which did not match the rise of the U.S. market.
Among other tax-exempt funds: hospitals and endowments both returned 26.6%; local governments, 26.1%; foundations, 25.6%; and state funds, 23.5%.