P&I 1,000 survey takes deep dive into largest plan sponsors

The 44th Pensions & Investments' special report on U.S. retirement assets illuminates investing trends of the nation's largest plan sponsors.

With strong market returns for the year ended Sept. 30, 2017, assets of the 1,000 largest U.S. retirement plan sponsors increased to an all-time high. Total assets increased to $10.326 trillion, up 10% from a year earlier. Defined contribution assets increased significantly faster than defined benefit assets.

Investing trends in the year included a 56.6% increase in passive fixed-income assets, a jump in allocations to TIPS, a significant rise in infrastructure assets, and a bounce back in hedge fund allocations.

Data was compiled primarily from a proprietary P&I survey.

The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, Washington, is the first U.S. retirement plan sponsor to have more than $500 billion in assets. The California Public Employees' Retirement System in Sacramento remains the nation's largest defined benefit plan sponsor with assets rising to an all-time high of $335.1 billion as of Sept. 30. California and New York had the most retirement assets of any state, with around $1.4 trillion each.

The data can be accessed in the P&I Research Center. P&I's database contains 12 years of data with more than 200 unique data points. The universe includes corporate, public, union and miscellaneous plan sponsors. There are 605 corporate plan sponsors for 2017, representing 43.1% of assets. There are 198 public plans with 41.2% of the total retirement assets.

Five stories analyzing the information can be found here. Full details on the data methodology can be found here.