The aggregate deficit of FTSE 350 companies in the U.K. fell 3.1% to £63 billion ($97.2 billion) in October, driven by an increase in asset values.
Data from Mercer’s pensions risk survey show assets increased 1.3% to £639 billion, rising enough to offset a 0.9% increase in liabilities, to £702 billion. The funded status was 91% at the end of October, inching up from 90.7% as of Sept. 30.
Ali Tayyebi, senior partner in Mercer’s retirement business, said in a statement accompanying the data that sponsoring employers continue to conduct bulk annuity transactions. “After a slow start I would expect 2015 to end up close to the record year of 2014 where £13 billion of liabilities were transferred to insurers,” he said.
The consultant’s data relate to about 50% of all U.K. pension fund liabilities.