The median plan in Mellon Analytical Solutions' U.S. Master Trust Universe posted a 3.98% return on investments in the third quarter, confirmed Tim Clark, senior client relationship manager. Funds with higher equity allocations tended to perform better in the third quarter, he said. Endowments performed best, returning a median 4.62%. Public funds returned a median 4.25%; foundations, 4.12%; corporate funds, 3.9%; Taft-Hartley funds, 3.4%; and health-care funds, 3.01%. The average asset allocation during the third quarter was 42% domestic equity; 24% domestic fixed income; 20% international equity; 5% alternatives; 5% other asset classes, such as private equity and energy; 2% real estate; 1% international fixed income; and 1% cash. The universe comprises 504 corporate, foundation, endowment, public, Taft-Hartley and health-care funds, 99% of which had positive returns during the quarter. The universe represents plans with assets totaling $1.6 trillion, and the average plan has $3.1 billion in assets.
Separately, public pension plans earned a median investment return of 3.89% in the third quarter, according to data from Wilshire Associates' Trust Universe Comparison Service database. Corporate pension funds returned a median 3.74%, according to the data. For the year ended Sept. 30, public pension plan investments returned a median 13.63%, while corporate plans returned a median 13.73%. Public funds had a median equity allocation of 61.2% and a median bond allocation of 28.4%, compared with a median of 64.2% in equities and 27.3% in bonds for corporate plans, according to the database. Foundations and endowments earned a median 4.67% on their investments in the third quarter and 14.59% for the year, according to the Wilshire data. They had a median 63.4% of assets in equities and 18.2% in bonds. Wilshire's TUCS database includes about 300 participants with about $2 trillion in combined assets.