The nation's 1,000 largest retirement plans ended two years of declines, with assets rising nearly 8% in the year ended Sept. 30, according to Pensions & Investments' annual survey of the largest U.S. retirement plan sponsors.
The overwhelming majority of the increase was due to market returns.
Assets of the P&I Top 1,000 grew by $484.6 billion in the 12-month period, to $6.56 trillion.
Defined benefit assets among the Top 1,000 grew 6.7% to $4.65 trillion, while defined contribution assets grew 11% to $1.91 trillion.
The 7.97% gain in the most recent survey contrasts with declines of 5.2% as of Sept. 30, 2009, and 13.1%, as of Sept. 20, 2008.
Total assets for the 200 largest plan sponsors grew 7.6% to $4.88 trillion. Defined benefit assets among the Top 200 plans grew at an even smaller rate, up 6.3%, to $3.69 trillion.
When adjusted for the markets' gains, however, growth among the Top 200 and Top 1,000 was relatively flat.
Stories and rankings will be published in the Feb. 7 issue of Pensions & Investments.