Exposure to Equities and Real Estate Investment Trusts Enhances Overall Returns;
Plans Up More Than 16 Percent Since Recession Low of 2009
As a result of the double digit returns of equities and real estate investment trusts (REITs), all institutional plan types had a healthy first quarter reporting strong positive median returns, according to the Wilshire Trust Universe Comparison Service® (Wilshire TUCS®), a cooperative effort between Wilshire Analytics, the investment technology unit of Wilshire Associates Incorporated (Wilshire®), and custodial organizations.
“All institutional asset owners in Wilshire TUCS had their best quarter since the third quarter of 2010 with a median return of 7.42 percent. Plan type median returns ranged from the Foundations and Endowment’s 7.16 percent to the Taft Hartley Defined Benefits’ 8.14 percent,” said Robert J. Waid, managing director, Wilshire Analytics. Wilshire TUCS, the most widely accepted benchmark for the performance and allocation of institutional assets, includes approximately 900 plans representing nearly $3 trillion in assets.
“With the Wilshire 5000 Total Market IndexSM return of 12.76 percent and the MSCI AC World ex U.S. at 11.23 percent, the difference in the first quarter performance falls to the exposure to alternatives,” Waid stated. “A little more than half of all plans in Wilshire TUCS had exposure to alternatives with a median allocation of 1.05 percent while large Master Trusts with assets above $1 billion and those with more than $5 billion had median allocations of 10.22 and 10.67 percent, respectively. This translated to median returns of 7.42 percent for all Master Trusts while large plans with assets of more than $1 billion and $5 billion had median returns of 7.15 and 7.31 percent, respectively. This effect was even more pronounced with large Foundations and Endowments with assets above $500 million. Their median allocation to alternatives of 36.71 percent delivered a first quarter median return of 6.49 percent.”
Waid also noted that, “Back-to-back double digit positive equity returns pushed all plan types’ one-year median returns into positive territory with all Master Trusts coming in at 4.33 percent. Large plans continued to have a larger allocation to non-U.S. equities versus U.S. equities.
Median allocations to U.S. equities grew during the quarter by more than four percentage points in all plan type categories except Foundations and Endowments.
The three-year anniversary of the recession low shows the median performance for all plans up 16.06 percent for the period. Bigger plans did better over this time period with large Master Trusts with assets above $1 billion and those with more than $5 billion delivering median returns of 16.24 and 16.57 percent, respectively.
Among corporate plans, the returns by all plans saw median performance of 7.35 percent for the quarter, 5.46 percent for the year and 17.16 percent per year for the three-year period. In the category that includes corporate plans with asset greater than $1 billion, the median quarterly, annual and three-year returns were 6.76 percent, 5.96 percent and 17.21 percent, respectively.