US institutional investment plan sponsors had their fourth consecutive quarter of positive results in the second quarter of 2011, research shows.
Members of the Northern Trust Universe, which represents the performance of about 300 large institutional investment plans with a combined asset value of about $839.2bn, recorded gains of 1.2% at the median, the company said.
Corporate pension plans had a median return of 1.4% in Q2, while public funds returned 1.3% and foundations & endowments gained 1.1% at the median. Public funds led the way in 12-month returns, gaining 22.2% at the median. The median one-year return was 20.8% for corporate pensions and 20.3% for foundations & endowments.
"The gains keep coming for US plan sponsors, and while results were modest for the quarter, the median plan had strong double-digit returns over the past year," said William Frieske, senior performance consultant, Northern Trust Investment Risk & Analytical Services.
"Many public funds gained more than 20% in the 12 months ending June 30, the end of the fiscal year for those public employee pension plans."
US equities, a core holding for US institutional plans, held back performance in the second quarter, with the S&P 500 Index gaining just 0.1% in that period. The top performing listed asset class was US fixed income, with the BlackRock US Aggregate Index up 2.3% on the quarter, and international equity, as measured by the MSCI EAFE Index, gained 1.8%.
In unlisted assets, private equity programmes in the Northern Trust Universe generated 5.7% gains in the second quarter, while hedge fund programmes returned about 1%.
The People's Pension, Atlas Master Trust and The Cheviot Trust have been granted authorisation from The Pensions Regulator (TPR), taking the total number of authorised master trusts to 18.
Pension schemes have been warned they may now face a more challenging legal test if they wish to fix drafting errors.
The Greene King Pension Scheme has appointed XPS Pensions as its actuarial and investment adviser following a competitive tender process.
Professional Pensions has compiled a list charting the progress of master trust authorisation. View our list in full here...