Master trusts in the Wilshire Trust Universe Comparison Service had a median 4.77% return in the first quarter and 9.72% for the year ended March 31.
Taft-Hartley defined benefit pension plans had the highest median return for the three months ended March 31, at 5.98%. Public pension plans followed with a median 5.2%, but had the highest one-year returns at 10.19%. Foundations and endowments returned a median 4.59%, and corporate pension plans, 4.25%. However, a typical 60% equity/40% fixed-income portfolio outperformed all kinds of plans for the quarter with a return around 6.5%.
Ninety-five percent of plans had a positive quarterly return.
The quarterly results were driven by equity and bond markets. The Wilshire 5000 returned 10.91% for the quarter, while the Barclays Capital Aggregate Bond index returned -0.12%. Taft-Hartley DB plans, the top performers, had the highest median domestic equity allocation at 49.5%, while corporate plans, the worst performers, had the highest median allocation to domestic fixed income at 32.6%.
For the 12 months ended March 31, corporate plans trailed public plans' 10.19% return with a 9.98% return, followed by Taft-Hartley, 9.71%, and foundations and endowments, 9.55%.
Master trusts with assets greater than $1 billion had a median one-year return of 10.21%, and plans with more than $5 billion in assets had a median 10.54% return.
The end of the quarter also marked the first time since June 2007 that the median 10-year annualized return for all master trusts moved above 8% to 8.04%. Three-year annualized returns are 8.81% and five-year returns, 5.01%.
Wilshire TUCS includes more than 1,700 plans with more than $3.4 trillion in assets.