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Pension Funds

U.K. corporate pension funding advances in month, year

The total deficit of all U.K. corporate pension funds improved 19% in February and 23% for the year ended Feb. 28 to £82 billion ($108.9 billion), according to an update Friday by JLT Employee Benefits.

The funded level of corporate pension funds was 95% for the month ended Feb. 28 — up from 94% in January and 93% as of Feb. 28, 2018.

Pension fund assets fell 0.2% for the month but increased 1.7% for the year to £1.56 trillion. Liabilities fell 1.4% in February but were flat for the year, at £1.64 trillion.

FTSE 100 firms saw deficits fell 38% in February but drop 54% for the year to £13 billion. The funded level was 98% as of Feb. 28, improving from 97% since both January and a year earlier.

For FTSE 350 companies, deficits were £20 billion improving 31% for the month and 37.5% for the year. The funded level was 97% over the month, improving from 96% since both January and the year ended Feb.28, 2018.

"Despite the continued political turmoil in Westminster and across the EU, the last month has seen little change to the aggregate position for FTSE 100 pension schemes which continues to show a modest overall deficit," Charles Cowling, chief actuary at JLT Employee Benefits, said in a news release accompanying the update.

Despite increased uncertainty surrounding Brexit, markets are holding up, Mr. Cowling said.

"Markets traditionally do not like uncertainty and there is clearly a strong desire from businesses for certainty on the Brexit outcome to be managed," he said. "Whatever that may be."