Institutional asset owners in the Northern Trust Universe returned a median -4.6% in the third quarter of 2015, down from 0.2% in the previous quarter, data released Tuesday show.
Among the various plan types that Northern Trust monitors, corporate defined benefit plans had the highest median return for the quarter at -3.9%, followed by foundations and endowments, -4.7%; and public DB Plans, -4.9%.
Corporate DB plans were also the top performer for the year ended Sept. 30, with a median return of -0.5%, followed by public DB plans, with -0.6%, and endowments and foundations, -1.1%.
For the quarter, corporate DB plans benefited from higher allocations to U.S. fixed income (median 39%) and private equity (median 7.5%) and a smaller public equity allocation, said Northern Trust in a news release on the results.
The best-performing asset class for the quarter was private equity with a median return of 3%, followed by real estate, about 2.3% and fixed income, 0.4%. On the flip side, international equity was down more than 10% and U.S. equity returned a median -7.6%.
Public pension plans were hampered by their large allocations to U.S. equity (31.2% median) and international equity (median 21%). Foundations and endowments also were hurt by their U.S. equity allocation (median 19.2%) and international equity allocation (median 11.2%), but benefited from a median 25% allocation to private equity.
The Northern Trust universe consists of about 300 large U.S. institutional plans with combined assets of about $899 billion.