By the end of 2009 institutional investors, including insurers, had largely recovered from their dismal investment performance of 2008, according to the Conference Board.

By the end of last year, total institutional investment assets rose 14% to $25.4 trillion, a level similar to that recorded between 2005 and 2006, reports the Conference Board, New York.

In 2008, investment assets plunged by more than 21% for institutional investors, including pension funds, mutual funds, savings institutions, and foundations. Insurance companies experienced an 8.6% contraction in invested assets during that time, the report said.

The board reports a swing back to equities by institutional investors, which had moved heavily into fixed-income securities in 2008. By the end of 2009, institutions invested around 40% of their assets in equities and 39% in fixed income, putting the remaining 21% into other asset classes.

Life insurance companies, however, last year invested around 63% percent of their assets in fixed-income securities, according to the report.

-Trevor Thomas