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Larger plans lead among public pension fund returns; private equity leads the charge

As a group, the median 10-year net return for U.S. public defined benefit plans was 5.26%. Across the 180 total observations, the 17 plans with more than $5 billion in assets led the group with a 5.34% median return despite plans with more than $1 billion (inclusive of those with more than $5 billion) posting a median return of 5%.

Private equity returned the highest among asset classes with a 7.9% annualized return, followed by U.S. equity with a 7.4% return.

The data were compiled by MSCI InvestorForce from client data; plans associated with specific data points are masked for confidentiality.