Assets of the median ERISA defined benefit plan in the Northern Trust universe were up 24.2% for the year ended Dec. 31, while public pension fund assets were up 22.8% and foundations and endowments gained 23% during the same period. The cumulative annualized five-year median return of all plans was 4.9%, up from last year's five-year median of 3.2%. The 10-year median return was 9.6%, up from 8.8%.
"These are significant increases but it will take sustained performance and time to help funded statuses hurt by lowered discount rates and prior years' negative performance," Paul Finlayson, vice president, Northern Trust, said in a statement.
The Northern Trust universe is composed of more than 300 large institutional investment plans with total assets of more than $390 billion.