The aggregate funded status of defined benefit plans sponsored by S&P 1500 companies remained at 80% as of March 31, a Mercer report said.
Equity market declines and a slight increase in interest rates kept the funding ratio relatively stable.
In March, the discount rate rose 2 basis points to 3.62%, while the S&P 500 index and the MSCI EAFE index fell 1.7% and 2%, respectively.
Mercer’s estimated aggregate plan assets totaled $1.9 trillion as of March 31, compared to estimated aggregate liabilities of $2.38 trillion. The previous month, the estimated assets and liabilities were $1.92 trillion and $2.4 trillion, respectively.
“Even though March was a relatively stable month, plan sponsors have seen significant swings in the funded status in 2014 and are still feeling the sting of the updated mortality tables (which raised plan liabilities),” said Jim Ritchie, a principal in Mercer’s retirement practice, in a news release. “Plan sponsors that have executed on risk transfer activities in 2014 are faring much better with the mortality impact than those that did not.”