Institutional investors in the BNY Mellon U.S. Master Trust Universe returned a median 7.12% in the first quarter and 4.33% for the year ended March 31.
The gains for the quarter were largely attributed to robust returns in the equity markets. Domestic equities had a median return of 12.95%, while international equities posted a median return of 11.97%. International fixed income had a median return of 3.4% and domestic fixed income, 1.36%.
“Clearly, this was a broad rally as equities drove most of the returns, both U.S. and international,” said John Houser, vice president and manager of performance and risk analytics for BNY Mellon, in a telephone interview. He said the returns show optimism over the continuing economic recovery is ongoing with consecutive quarters of strong returns.
Nearly 99% of the funds in the universe had a positive return for the quarter; 96% had positive returns for the year.
The average allocation in the universe for the first quarter was 29% domestic equities, 27% domestic fixed income, 22% alternative investments/other, 16% international equities, and 2% each international fixed income, real estate and cash.
Public pension plans had the highest returns in the first quarter with a median 7.7%. Foundations had a median return of 7.24%, followed by Taft-Hartley plans, 7.19%; corporate pension plans, 7%; and endowments, 6.88%.
For the year ended March 31, corporate pension plans had the highest median return at 6.01%, followed by Taft-Hartley, 4.81%; public, 4.35%; endowments, 3.66%; and foundations, 3.06%.
The universe comprises 719 corporate, public and Taft-Hartley defined benefit pension funds; foundations and endowments; and health-care plans. The plans have a combined market value of $2.29 trillion and an average plan size of $3.19 billion.