The median return of all plans in the BNY Mellon U.S. Master Trust Universe was 4.73% in the fourth quarter, up slightly from 4.47% median return for the previous quarter.
Ninety-nine percent of the 612 plans in the universe had a positive return for the quarter, with 28% matching or exceeding the custom benchmark of 5.51% for the quarter.
For the year ended Dec. 31, the median return for the universe was 14.37%.
For the quarter, public pension funds and foundations once again were extremely close at the top. Foundations recorded the top median return of 5.1% while the public pension plan median was 5.08%. Endowments returned a median 4.73%; corporate pension plans, 4.61%; and Taft-Hartley pension funds, 4.49%.
Public pension funds had the best median return for the year at 15.83%, followed by foundations, 15.38%; endowments, 14.88%; Taft-Hartley, 12.98%; and corporate plans, 12.46%.
U.S. and international equity had the top median returns for the quarter at 9.81% and 5.49%, respectively, but each trailed benchmark returns by 29 and 39 basis points, respectively. Real estate was up 2.42%, 11 basis points below the benchmark, while U.S. and non-domestic fixed income returned 0.29% and 0.32%, respectively, surpassing the benchmarks by 43 and 156 basis points, respectively.
The median asset allocation saw slight changes from the previous quarter in bonds and alternatives. Domestic fixed income decreased to 24% from 25%; non-U.S. fixed income decreased to 1% from 2%; and alternatives increased to 25% from 23%. Domestic equity, international equity, real estate and cash remained the same at 28%, 18%, 3% and 1%, respectively.
The 612 plans have a combined market value of $2.4 trillion, with an average plan size of $3.9 billion.