The estimated aggregate funding ratio for U.S. corporate pension plans sponsored by S&P 500 companies rose to 88.8% at the end of February, Wilshire Consulting said in a monthly report.
The funding ratio rose 1.8 percentage points from the estimated 87% at the end of January, the report said. Year to date, the estimated ratio was up 4.3 percentage points from 84.5% at the end of December, a number that had dropped a full 6 percentage points following the month's disastrous market returns.
The monthly change in funding in February resulted from an increase in asset values of 1.2 percentage points and a decrease in liability values of 0.9 percentage points. The aggregate funding ratio was up 0.4 percentage points over the trailing 12 months.
"February's continued improvement in funded ratios was driven by the strongest first two calendar month returns for the Wilshire 5000 in 32 years," said Ned McGuire, managing director and member of the pension risk solutions group at Wilshire Consulting, in a news release. "February's 1.8 percentage point increase in funding was the eighth increase over the past 12 months."