U.S. institutional investors in the Northern Trust universe experienced their fourth straight quarter of positive returns, gaining a median 1.2% for the quarter ended June 30, down from the 3.6% median return the previous quarter, according to Northern Trust.
Corporate pension plans returned a median 1.4%, down from 3.6% the previous quarter; public funds returned a median 1.3%, down from 3.9%; and foundations and endowments returned 1.1%, down from 3.7%.
For the 12-month period, public pension funds gained a median 22.2%; corporate pension funds, 20.8%; and foundations and endowments, 20.3%.
William Frieske, senior performance consultant, Northern Trust’s risk and analytical services unit, said in a telephone interview that low equity returns dragged down returns in the second quarter, largely over concerns of “big picture themes” such as the potential for a U.S. debt default and disrupted supply lines caused by the Japanese earthquake.
He said now that the U.S. government appears poised to avert default, “hopefully, we can get back to looking at fundamentals.”
The Northern Trust universe represents roughly 300 institutional plans with a combined asset value of approximately $839.2 billion.