This figure represents a 4% decline from 2003 and a 12% decline from 2002, according to the 2004 Survey of Funded Position of Multiemployer Plans. Segal attributes this fall to disappointing equity markets and the funding calculations being done when interest rates are at a record low.
The survey reports that the average withdrawal liability funded ratio also declined across all industries. Retail and food industries had the highest funding ratios at 90% and 89%, respectively. Plans in the service industry saw the greatest decline from 2003, down 8% to 78%. This was the lowest funding ratio average for any industry, Segal reported.
The survey notes that the highest average withdrawal liability funding ratios were seen at larger companies with more plan participants.
It also noted that the number of plans surveyed that were fully funded declined by 14% on the year, with only 17% saying they were in such a state. This is the lowest figure seen since 1983, according to Segal.
For the survey, Segal polled 432 multiemployer plans with assets totalling $140 billion.