Corporate pension plans earned a median 4.2% on investments in the third quarter, edging out public pension plans, which earned a median 4.1% in the period, according to data in the Northern Trust Universe, which tracks results from more than 300 institutions with combined assets of $390 billion. Foundations and endowment plans gained a median 4.4% in the third quarter.
Investment gains were led by advances in both domestic and international equities, according to Joe Nardulli, product manager, Northern Trust Investment Risk & Analytical Services. Total equity allocations for all plans in the universe added a median 6.1% in the third quarter.
For the year ended Sept. 30, public pension plans returned a median 14.5%, outpacing corporate plans, which earned a median 14.1%, according to Northern Trust. Foundations and endowments as a group outperformed their corporate and public counterparts, earning a median 14.7% for the year.