Milliman, Inc., a premier global consulting and actuarial firm, today released the results of its latest Pension Funding Index, which consists of 100 of the nation’s largest defined benefit pension plans. In December, these plans experienced a $10 billion increase in asset value and a $10 billion decrease in pension liabilities, powering a $20 billion improvement in pension funded status. The improvement drove the pension funded status deficit down to $73 billion at year end, culminating a year that saw $318 billion in funded status improvement.

“This was the first win-win year for pensions since 2007, with assets improving by $128 billion and liabilities decreasing by $190 billion,” said John Ehrhardt, co-author of the Milliman Pension Funding Index. “Just to put this rally in perspective: These pensions saw a $337 billion decrease in funded status in 2008, and in the past year we saw a $318 billion improvement. These plans’ performance in 2013 nearly erased the losses of 2008. We are getting back on track.”

Looking forward, if the Milliman 100 pension plans were to achieve the expected 7.5% median asset return for their pension portfolios, and if the current discount rate of 4.83% were maintained, funded status would improve, with the funded status deficit turning positive (100.9% funded ratio) by the end of 2014 and a surplus of $106 billion(106.8% funded ratio) accumulating by the end of 2015.

Source: Gnomes National News Service