Article: Q2 2023 Preliminary Plan Universe Snapshot

Brendan Cooper | July 26, 2023

Plan Universe Performance

Defined Benefit plans in the Investment Metrics Plan Sponsor Universes posted a median net return of 2.82% in the second quarter of 2023. Plan performance continued to rebound, posting three consecutive positive quarters, after posting three consecutive negative quarters in 2022.

In Q2, public plans and endowments & foundations posted the strongest performance with median returns of 3.42% and 3.39%, respectively.

All Defined Benefit: 723, Corporate: 148, Public: 246, Taft-Hartley: 226, End. & Fnd: 789, Health & Welfare: 161

Figure 1: Preliminary median performance by plan type, Q2 2023. Source: Investment Metrics, a Confluence company

2023’s strong results for public plans and endowments & foundations were mainly driven by their high exposure to equity (compared to other plans), which has been the top performing asset class. As figure 2 highlights, the year-to-date median equity return across all defined benefit plans was 12.74%, significantly outperforming all other asset classes. Comparatively, Taft-Hartley and Health & Welfare plans were overweight with Real Estate, the worst performing asset class, negatively impacting their return.

Figure 2: Preliminary median performance by asset class, Q2 2023. Source: Investment Metrics, a Confluence company

Investment Metrics Plan Universe

Investment Metrics Plan Universe is the industry’s most granular analytics tool for plan sponsors including standard and custom peer group comparisons of performance, risk, and asset allocations by plan type and size. The data is sourced directly from over 4,000 institutions using our reporting and analytics solutions including investment consultants, advisors and asset owners. Plan Universe is updated quarterly typically available on or near the following schedule: preliminary data available on the 14th business day after quarter end, a second cut on the 21st business day and final cut on the 29th business day, the data includes 20+ years’ history on:

  • Trust Funds, Corporates, Public Plans, Taft-Hartley, Endowments & Foundations, High Net
    Worth, Health & Welfare, and custom groups..
  • Asset Allocations broken into equity (US, global, global ex-US), fixed income (US, global, and global ex-US), alternatives, real estate (public and private), multi-asset and cash. Emerging Markets allocations are available for equities and debt securities.
  • Net and gross performances displayed by quartile with full percentiles via download.
  • With all information aggregated by Plan Size.


The information contained in this communication is for informational purposes only. Investment Metrics, a Confluence company, is not providing legal, financial, accounting, compliance or other similar services or advice through this communication. Recipients of this communication are responsible for understanding the regulatory and legal requirements applicable to their business.

About Confluence

Confluence is a leading global technology solutions provider committed to helping the investment management industry solve complex data challenges across the front, middle and back offices. From data-driven portfolio analytics to compliance and regulatory solutions, including investment insights and research, Confluence invests in the latest technology to meet the evolving needs of asset managers, asset owners, asset servicers, and asset allocators to provide best-of-breed solutions that deliver maximum scalability, speed and flexibility, while reducing risk and increasing efficiency. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, with 750+ employees in 15 offices spanning across the United Kingdom, Europe, North America, South Africa, and Australia, Confluence services over 1000 clients in more than 40 countries. For more information, visit


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Investment Metrics, a Confluence Company, is a global leading provider of investment analytics, reporting, data and research solutions that help institutional investors and advisors achieve better financial outcomes, grow assets and retain clients with clear investment insights.