Trusts in the Wilshire Trust Universe Comparison Service returned a median 1.66% during the first quarter of 2014 and median return of 11.09% for the year ended March 31.
Median annualized three-, five- and 10-year returns as of March 31 were 8.42%, 13.59% and 6.73%, respectively.
Among plan types, U.S. corporate defined benefit plans had the highest median returns for the quarter at 1.97%, followed by U.S. public defined benefit plans at 1.87%. Taft-Hartley defined benefit pension plans had a median return of 1.64%, while foundations and endowments returned a median 1.52%.
Public DB plans, however, led the way in median one-year returns at 12.94% as of March 31, followed by Taft-Hartley plans at 12.78%, foundations and endowments at 11.15% and corporate DB plans at 10.5%.
While this is the third positive quarter in a row, it was still relatively “mediocre” due to low returns in both equities and fixed income, said Robert J. Waid, managing director at Wilshire Associates, in a telephone interview.
The Wilshire 5000 Total Market index and Barclays Capital Capital U.S. Aggregate Bond Bond index returned 2.04% and 1.84%, respectively, for the quarter.
Mr. Waid noted large plans overall performed better this quarter. Trusts with more than $5 billion in assets had a median return of 2.24% for the quarter, compared to the overall 1.66%.
“Last quarter, small plans outperformed large plans because they have larger exposure to equities,” Mr. Waid said. “They cooled off a little bit. It's better than negative but still kind of mediocre.”