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Funded status for U.S. corporate plans continues upward march

The funded status of the largest U.S. corporate pension plans improved in November, according to reports from Wilshire Consulting and Legal & General Investment Management America.

The aggregate funding ratio for S&P 500 companies with corporate pension plans rose 1 percentage point over the month to 85.6%, according to Wilshire.

Asset values increased 1.3% over the month, outpacing a 0.1% increase in liabilities, Wilshire said. Year-to-date through Nov. 30, the aggregate funding ratio is up 4.7 percentage points.

"November marks the third-consecutive month of increases in (funding) ratios and the seventh month for the year," said Ned McGuire, managing director and a member of the pension risk solutions group of Wilshire Consulting, in a news release. "November's continued improvement in funding was driven by the continued increase in public equity markets, which pushed asset values higher. November marks a record 13th-consecutive month of gains for the Wilshire 5000 Total Market Index, extending its longest such streak in more than 30 years," he added.

In another monthly report, LGIMA found that the funded status of a typical U.S. corporate pension plan with a 60% allocation to global equity and 40% to core fixed income rose 70 basis points over November to 85.2%, the result of a 1.14% increase in assets and 0.3% increase in liabilities. Discount rates fell 1 basis point over the month, LGIMA said.