U.S. pension funds and endowments lost more than $1 trillion in assets over the past three years, with the largest decline in value registered in 2002, according to a study of 1,700 funds by Greenwich Associates. Dev Clifford, Greenwich consultant, called the three-year period ended Dec. 31 "probably the most destructive in the whole history of the U.S. fund business.
Corporate pension funds were hit hardest, with an average loss in value of 14.6% last year, compared with -10.1% in 2001. The largest 85 corporate funds lost a total of $260 billion in assets over the last three years, Greenwich said. Public pension funds lost an average 9.3% in value in 2002, slightly below the 8.9% decline in the previous year; the largest 78 state pension funds lost $240 billion in assets over the last three years. Endowments and foundations lost an average of 6.3% in value in 2002, compared with 5.9% in 2001.