Northern Trust: Corporate Plans Rank No. 1 in '09 Returns

Corporate plans led the pack in robust 2009 returns, driven by higher-risk asset classes.

(January 26, 2010) – U.S. institutional investment plan sponsors achieved double-digit returns in 2009, according to data in the Northern Trust Universe.

With a median return of 22.3% in 2009, Corporate Pension Plans topped returns for the year. Public Funds and Foundations & Endowments followed, with 20.3% and 17.9% returns respectively. In the fourth quarter, Public Funds led with a 3.7% median increase, while Foundations & Endowments and Corporate Pension Plans posted median returns of 3.6 % and 3.3%, respectively, according to a news release by Northern Trust.

“Regardless of differences in performance between Corporate Pension, Public Fund and F&E segments, a median return of 19% for all plans ranks 2009 as one of the best years in more than a decade for institutional investors,” said Frieske in the release. “Following the worst year in our records in 2008, and six straight quarters of losses, the past three quarters of positive returns have noticeably improved the longer-term numbers for institutions.”

Higher-risk asset classes boosted returns in 2009. For example, the Russell 2000 Growth index returned 34.5% for the year, while the S&P 500 returned 26.5% during the same period. For non-U.S. stocks, the MSCI Emerging Markets index returned 79% for the year. Comparatively, the MSCI EAFE returned 32.5%.

The Northern Trust Universe represents the performance of more than 300 large institutional investment plans, with a combined asset value of approximately $626 billion.

To contact the <em>aiCIO</em> editor of this story: Paula Vasan at <a href=''></a>; 646-308-2742