100 Largest US Pensions Lose $27.8 Billion in Q1

Equity volatility causes assets to dip to their lowest since 2015, according to new census data.

The top 100 US public pension systems have had their worst performance since September 2015, reports new US Census Bureau data.

Total earnings for the funds were just $14.3 billion in this year’s first quarter, and total assets lost $27.8 billion. They are now down to $3.78 trillion.

Totals have not slipped since September 2015, the Census Bureau reports.

Pension contributions from employees and employers also fell in the quarter. Benefit payments saw a small increase.

The main driver for the lackluster performance was equity volatility, Roy Eappen, a senior analyst at Wells Fargo Securities, told Reuters. He also said it was a drastic change from the fourth quarter of 2017, where fiscal and monetary policy and the new tax laws showed optimism throughout the industry.

At the start of the year, everything seemed to be bullish for the stock market, but all January gains were erased for the S&P 500 index amid the market selloff, followed by fitful attempts to regain lost ground. The index ended the first quarter with a mere 0.3% advance.

Eappen said that, in addition to the market’s shift, rumblings of a trade war with China, unsatisfactory retail sales, and gross domestic product revisions also hindered stocks.

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