U.S. pension plans, foundations and endowments posted negative investment returns in the first quarter, according to data in the Northern Trust universe of more than 300 institutions with combined assets of $390 billion. ERISA plans posted a median 1% loss in the first quarter; public funds posted a median 0.9% loss; and foundations and endowments posted a median 0.3% loss. About a quarter of foundation and endowment plans managed to eke out modest gains.
"Domestic equities had a rough quarter," Joe Nardulli, product manager, Northern Trust Investment Analytical Services, said in an interview. "That had a lot to do with higher oil prices and rising interest rates. I'm sure inflation fears also hurt the performance."
Higher allocations to private equity helped some foundations and endowments reach positive return territory in the quarter, he said.
For the 12 months ended March 31, ERISA plans returned a median 7.4%, public fund plans returned 7.7%, and foundation and endowment plans returned 7.9%.