Public pension plans returned a median -0.9% in the first quarter and a median 6.96% for the year ended March 31, according to Wilshire Associates' Trust Universe Comparison Service. Corporate plans posted median returns of -0.87% for the quarter and 7.44% for the year, while endowments and foundations earned -0.56% in the quarter and 7.85% for the year.
The tepid quarterly results reflect heavy allocations to equities, which had a difficult first quarter with high oil prices, rising interest rates and mixed economic signals. In the first quarter, the Dow Jones Wilshire 5000 composite index lost 2.39%; it was up 7.14% for the year.
As of March 31, public pension funds had a median 61.4% of asses in equities; corporate funds had 63.7% of their assets in equities; and endowments and foundations, 62.8%, according to Wilshire.
The TUCS universe comprises 350 corporate and public pension plans, endowments and foundations that have a total of $2 trillion in assets.