Defined contribution plan assets of the nations 1,000 largest employee benefit funds hit $1 trillion for the first time, Pensions & Investments research shows. Defined contribution assets climbed to $1.05 trillion as of Sept. 30, an increase of 15.3% from a year earlier. That growth helped push total U.S. pension assets of the top 1,000 funds to $4.39 trillion, a rise of 7.1%, even as employers continued to pay out more from their defined benefit plans than they contributed. Defined benefit assets climbed 4.7% to $3.35 trillion. After accounting for growth attributable to the markets, defined contribution assets rose 7%, while defined benefit assets fell 4.7%. Total assets among the top 1,000 plans fell a market-adjusted 2.2%. Assets in indexed funds, international equities and emerging markets equities also fell, while venture capital and buyout fund assets rose sharply.