Assets held in balanced pooled funds declined 7.9% in the first quarter, versus a 3.4% decline in the fourth quarter, according to BNY Mellon Asset Servicing's latest quarterly survey on the sector.

It was the fifth consecutive quarter of negative returns for such funds, the London unit of Bank of New York Mellon Corp. announced Monday.

The company has not recorded a positive performance for these funds since a 1% gain for the fourth quarter of 2007.

The funds have fallen 20.5% in the past year and 6.6% in the past three years. Over the past five years they have returned 3.2% and over the past 10 years they have returned 1.4%.

Within equity balanced pooled funds, the weakest performance came from the Japan equity pooled sector, with a median return of negative-17.2%.

"The continuing lack of confidence in the equity markets continues to affect the performance of balanced funds with another negative quarter's performance," Alan Wilcock, BNY Mellon Asset Servicing's performance and risk analytics manager, said in a press release. "A more cautious approach to asset allocation overall has meant equity allocations have fallen again to their lowest levels for the second consecutive quarter. Conversely allocations to Cash and Bonds have increased and now account for around a quarter of balanced fund asset allocations."

BNY Mellon Asset Servicing's pooled pension fund database covers company currently covers 71 separate asset managers.

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