The aggregate deficit of U.K. corporate pension funds improved 11.8% to £255 billion ($392.4 billion) for the month ended Feb. 28, but increased 62% over the past 12 months.
Figures from JLT Employee Benefits showed that assets across these pension funds increased 0.3% to £1.274 trillion, while liabilities fell 2.4% to £1.563 trillion during February That gave a funding level of 82%, an improvement of one percentage point compared with Jan. 31.
For the year ended Feb. 28, assets increased 10.5% while liabilities rose 16.8% as the funded status fell from 88% as of Feb. 28, 2014.
The biggest improvement in deficit value was for FTSE 350 companies, with a 13.4% improvement over the month to £97 billion. However, over the last 12 months, deficits increased 59%. The funding level was 87% for those pension funds, up from 85% as of Jan. 31, but down from 91% as of Feb. 28, 2014.
FTSE 100 companies also saw improvements over the month, with deficits falling 13.3% to £85 billion. However, deficits increased 60.4% over the year to that date. Funding levels improved two percentage points over the month to 87%; and decreased four percentage points over the year.
“There has been a slight improvement in the last month (in the deficit) due to a slight rise in bond yields,” said Charles Cowling, director at JLT Employee Benefits, in an e-mail.