Public pension plans returned a median 5.16% during the fourth quarter of 2019, leading its peer universes, followed by foundations (5.14%) and endowments (4.86%), according to data from BNY Mellon. The public-plan universe benefited from a relatively larger allocation to global equities, while bond-heavy corporate pension plans trailed all sub-universes except health-care plans.
BNY Mellon noted in its findings that less than 2% of all plans reported negative returns during the quarter.
The median universe equity allocation was 40% at the end of 2019, down from 43% five years ago. Allocations to alternatives was stable over the five-year period except for hedge funds, which declined to a 12% allocation from 15%.
BNY Mellon's U.S. Master Trust Universe covers data from 521 total plans with an aggregate market value of $2.3 trillion.