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The funded status of very large pension plans sponsored by public companies climbed in June as rising interest rates lowered the value of plan liabilities, according to a Milliman Inc. survey released Thursday.
Defined benefit plans offered by U.S. employers with the 100 largest pension programs were an average of 85.6% funded as of June 30, up from 84.1% funded as of May 31.
At the end of June, the plans had $1.449 trillion in assets and $1.692 trillion in liabilities, resulting in a funding deficit of $243 billion. That is a decrease of $36 billion compared with the end of May, when the funding shortfall was $279 billion.
“It's no coincidence that we've seen a related decrease in pension liabilities, with rising discount rates reducing liabilities by $92 billion year to date and contributing to a strong quarter for the 100 largest corporate pensions,“ John Ehrhardt, a Milliman principal and consulting actuary in New York, said in a statement.
A majority of multiemployer pension funds continued to be in the well-funded “green zone” in calendar year 2015, according to Segal Consulting’s latest Survey of Plans’ Zone Status released Wednesday.