As expected, institutional investors overall saw the rates of return on their portfolios take a more than a five percent drop in the first quarter of 2008. The rates of return varied from a loss of -3.75 percent for non-profits with assets greater than $1 billion to -5.79 percent for Taft Hartley funds with assets greater than $1 billion, according to the Wilshire Trust Universe Comparison Service® (Wilshire TUCS®), a cooperative effort between Wilshire Analytics, the investment technology unit of Wilshire Associates, and custodial organizations. TUCS, the most widely accepted benchmark for the performance of institutional assets, includes more than 1,300 plans representing $3.17 trillion in assets.
The median performance of all master trusts for the quarter ended March 31, 2008 was a -5.10 percent with a yearly return of 0.30 percent. The median performance of corporate pension plans was -5.57 percent for the quarter and -0.20 percent for the year while public pension funds median performance was -4.99 percent for the quarter and 0.53 percent for the last four quarters. The first quarter performance for foundations and endowments was -5.32 percent and 0.48 percent for the year. Taft Hartley funds median performance was -4.33 percent for the quarter and 0.65 percent for the year. Non-profits saw a median performance of -5.27 percent in the first quarter and 0.16 percent for the year.
“The performance we saw in the first quarter was expected based on market turmoil globally,” said Hilarie C. Green, CFA, managing director and head of Wilshire Analytics' Performance Reporting division.
“Here in the U.S., the equity market suffered its worst quarterly loss since the third quarter of 2002 with the Dow Jones Wilshire 5000SM posting a –9.52% return as the first three months of the year each returned negative results. Combined with November and December of 2007, we’ve seen five consecutive months of market losses,” she added.