The average defined contribution plan returned -11.45% in the third quarter of 2011, according to the Callan DC index, which tracks net asset flows and defined contribution plan performance.
The DC index performance trailed that of the average defined benefit plan, which had a quarterly return of -7.08%.
The DC drop was driven by poor domestic equity returns, but the index still topped the average 2030 target date fund, which had a return of -12.71% for the quarter ended Sept. 30.
The overall index turnover — flows as a percentage of total index market value — equaled the historical average of 0.71%. The previous quarter's turnover was 0.31%.
Stable value and target-date funds saw the highest index turnover at 0.37% and 0.32%, respectively.
The Callan DC index comprises 77 DC plans, mostly 401(k) plans, with $88 billion in assets and more than 800,000 participants.