Large Plans Fare Better During Q1

Small plans underperformed large plans for the first quarter of 2014, pulling the median return for all institutional assets tracked by the Wilshire Trust Universe Comparison Service (TUCS) to a lackluster 1.66%.

“While this is the third positive quarter in a row, returns remain below the classic 1.82% or higher quarterly return target required for an annualized 7.5% return,” says Robert J. Waid, managing director, Wilshire Associates, based in Santa Monica, California.

Waid adds, “In a quarter where the Wilshire 5000 Total Market Index and Barclays U.S. Aggregate Index returns were similar, at 2.04% and 1.84%, respectively, it wasn’t surprising to see that overall plan returns were similar.” He notes that Taft-Harley health and welfare funds was the lowest performing plan type for the third quarter in a row with a median return of 1.26%. Foundations and endowments followed with a median return of 1.52%, while large corporate funds with assets greater than $1 billion delivered a high median return of 2.39%.

“Whereas large plan median returns outperformed the classic 60/40 portfolio, their small plan counterparts underperformed,” says Waid. Corporate funds delivered the largest size spread, with medians return for small versus large corporate funds of 1.71% and 2.39%, respectively.

More information about the Wilshire TUCS plan returns versus the traditional 60/40 portfolio for first quarter 2014 can be found here.

Wilshire TUCS, a cooperative effort between Wilshire Analytics, the investment technology unit of Wilshire Associates Inc., and custodial organizations, is an accepted benchmark for the performance and allocation of institutional assets and includes nearly 1,700 plans representing in excess of $3.5 trillion in assets.