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DEFINED BENEFIT

Willis Towers Watson to contribute $123 million to its global pension funds in 2017

Willis Towers Watson PLC, London, plans to contribute $123 million total to its qualified global pension plans in 2017, said its 10-K filed Wednesday.

Of the $123 million, $50 million will be contributed to the company's U.S. plans, $60 million to its U.K. plans and $13 million to its other international plans.

As of Dec. 31, Willis Towers Watson's U.S. defined benefit assets and benefit obligations totaled $3.28 billion and $4.17 billion, respectively, for a funded status of 78.7%. Pension assets and benefit obligations for the company's U.K. plans totaled $4.36 billion and $3.9 billion, respectively, for a funded status of 111.8%. Pension assets and benefit obligations for Willis Towers Watson's other international plans totaled $467 million and $732 million, respectively, for a funded status of 63.8%.

The discount rates used to determine benefit obligations for the U.S., U.K. and other international plans were 4%, 2.6% and 2.7% in 2016.

At the end of 2016, the U.S. plans had an asset allocation of 50.9% pooled/commingled funds, 21.2% hedge funds, 8% equity securities, 7.2% private equity, 5.6% mutual funds, 5.2% corporate bonds, 1% short-term securities, 0.6% other fixed income, and the remainder in government bonds and cash.

For the U.K. plans, the asset allocation was 38.4% pooled/commingled funds, 27% government bonds, 9.7% hedge funds, 8.7% equity securities, 4.9% other fixed income, 4.5% real estate, 2.7%, 1.7% derivatives, 1.1% cash, corporate bonds, 1% private equity and 0.3% mutual funds.

For the other international plans, the asset allocation was 47.5% mutual funds, 45.3% pooled/commingled funds and 3.6% each cash and insurance contracts.

In 2016, the company contributed $50 million to its qualified U.S. plans, $105 million to its U.K. plans and $29 million to its other international pension plans.