The median plan in the Mellon Analytical Solutions U.S. Master Trust Universe returned 13.6% for 2006, compared with 7.7% the previous year, confirmed Mellon spokeswoman Jessica Hancock. The 2006 return was the strongest full-year performance since 2003, she said. The median plan returned 5.8% for the fourth quarter 2006, according to data the firm released today.
Of the 434 corporate, foundation, endowment, public, Taft-Hartley and health-care funds that make up the universe, 82% matched or outperformed the universe's composite benchmark.
The median endowment returned a 14.9% for all of 2006, compared with 9.5% in 2005. The median public plan returned 14.3% last year, compared with 8.3% the year before; the median foundation returned 13.6% in 2006, compared with 7.5% in 2005; and the median corporate plan, 13.2%, compared with 7.6%.
For the fourth quarter, endowments had the best performance, with a median 6.2% return, followed by foundations at 6.1%; public plans, 5.9%; and corporate plans, 5.7%.
"A combination of strong local (equity) market performance, in addition to the weakening U.S. dollar during the quarter, resulted in favorable returns for U.S. investors," Greg Stewart, director of product management, investor performance, said in a news release.
The U.S. Master Trust Universe represents plans with a combined market value of $1.2 trillion and an average plan size of $3.4 billion.