Northern Trust's institutional universe returned a median 2% in the first quarter, driven primarily by private equity and real estate, according to a news release from Northern Trust.
Corporate defined benefit plans were the top performers, returning a median 2.8% in the first quarter. Public DB plans returned a median 1.9% while foundations and endowments returned a median 1.6%.
Plans in the Northern Trust universe had a median private equity return of 4.2% for the quarter, compared to 2.8% for real estate, 2.2% for U.S. fixed income, 1.6% for U.S. equity and 0.6% for international equity.
Corporate plans had the highest median allocation to U.S. fixed income at 36.8%, but also had a median U.S. equity allocation of 29.3%, which was significantly higher than the median 20.2% U.S. equity allocation for foundations and endowments, but less than the median 32.7% for public DB plans.
Median one-year returns as of March 31 for the Northern Trust universe were 12.9% for public plans, 12.2% for foundations and endowments, and 11% for corporate pension funds.
Median annualized five-year returns as of March 31 15.1%for corporate pension funds, 14.7% for public plans, and 13.4% for foundations and endowments.
The Northern Trust Universe consists of about 300 large U.S. institutional plans with combined assets of $899 billion.