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Funding for largest pension plans holding steady


With a flat investment performance and interest rates holding about steady, the funded status of very large pension plans showed little movement in November, according to a Milliman Inc. survey released Monday

Defined benefit plans offered by U.S. employers with the 100 largest pension programs were an average of 83.3% funded as of Nov. 30, down from 83.5% funded as of Oct. 31.

“November was another middling month for these pensions, and with the calendar flipping soon, the book is nearly written on 2015,” John Ehrhardt, a Milliman principal and consulting actuary in New York, said in a statement.

Still, if the Federal Reserve raises interest rates before the end of the year, plan funding levels could rise.

“With the Fed potentially raising interest rates at the end of the calendar year, it could be an exciting finish,” Mr. Ehrhardt said.

At the end of November, the plans had $1.429 trillion in assets and $1.716 trillion in liabilities, resulting in a funding deficit of about $287 billion. That is an increase of about $3 billion compared with the end of October when the funding shortfall was nearly $284 billion.

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