The median public plan in the Mellon Analytical Solutions trust universe returned -14% in the fourth quarter, while the median foundation/endowment fund returned -13.7% and the median corporate plan, -12.6%.
For 2008, the median of 232 corporate plans in the universe saw a 25.7% decline, while the median of 141 endowments and foundations dropped 25.9% and the median of 76 public funds tumbled 26.8%, according to a Mercer news release.
Lower allocations to alternatives and higher allocations to fixed income helped corporate plans perform a bit better in 2008, Andrew Kramer, a principal and head of marketing with Mercer, said in a telephone interview.
By asset class, the median large-cap core domestic equity manager among more than 400 large-cap core managers in Mercers manager performance analytics universe lost 21.8% for the latest quarter and 36.8% for the year, narrowly besting the benchmark S&P 500 index, which lost 21.9% and 37%. The median domestic large-cap value manager returned -21.4% for the quarter and -35.7% for the year, likewise exceeding the Russell 1000 Value benchmarks declines of 22.2% and 36.8%. The median large-cap growth manager returned -22.6% and -38.9%, better than the Russell 1000 Growth benchmarks 22.8% decline for the quarter, but worse than its 38.4% drop for the year.
The median international core equity manager, of 157 in Mercers universe, lost 20.2% for the quarter and 43% for the year.
The median domestic core fixed-income manager among the more than 260 in the universe gained 2.9% for the quarter and 2% for the year, trailing the Barclays Aggregate benchmark by 170 basis points and 320 basis points respectively, Mercer said. The median core-plus fixed-income manager, meanwhile, broke even for the latest quarter and dropped 3.4% for the year, trailing the Barclays Aggregate benchmark by 460 basis points and 860 bps, respectively. There are about 90 managers in that universe.