Milliman Pension Funding Index Status Brightens in November

December 14, 2009 ( – The funded ratio of 100 of the nation’s largest defined benefit plans increased from 75% to 75.5% in November, according to Milliman.

A news release about its Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index said the pensions experienced asset increases of $20 billion and liability increases of $18 billion, resulting in a $2-billion increase in funded status – the first such hike since April.

“Finally, a month with some improvement in pension funding status,” said John Ehrhardt, co-author of the Index, in the announcement. “For much of this year, any asset gains experienced in a given month were offset by liability increases. This month we saw the kind of increase in liabilities that has been characteristic of 2009 but it wasn’t enough to offset $20 billion in asset gains.”

Over the last 12 months, the cumulative asset return has been 14.74% and yet the funded status has fallen by $179 billion. For these 12 months, the funded ratio of the Milliman 100 companies has fallen from 85.8% to 75.5%.

To view the complete monthly update, go here.