Milliman: Pension Funded Status Improves in March

May 11, 2009 ( - The assets of the largest 100 corporate pension plans, as measured by the Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index, posted investment gains of $30 billion in March.

A Milliman report said the asset gains were coupled with liability decreases of roughly $18 billion, resulting in a net funding status improvement of $48 billion. Milliman noted this is the first gain in funding status since July 2008.

As of March 31, 2009, the funding ratio of the Index was 77.7%, just behind the 78.2% reported at the end of 2008, and down from 100.6% a year ago, according to the report.

Milliman said the projected benefit obligation (PBO), or liability, decrease is attributable to the rise in the monthly discount rate from 6.76% in February to 7% in March. The monthly asset return for the Index was approximately 3.83%.

With an expected return of 8.1% and a discount rate of 7% for the remainder of 2009, Milliman expects the funded status of plans in the Index to decrease.

The Milliman report is here .