U.K. defined benefit funds covered by the Pension Protection Fund's 7800 index saw their aggregate deficit rise in March to £43.9 billion ($57.2 billion) from £8.6 billion at the end of February.
The London-based lifeboat for pension funds of insolvent U.K. companies said in an update Tuesday that the funding level decreased to 97.4% as of March 31 vs. 99.5% as of Feb. 28. On March 31, 2018, the funding level was 95.7%.
Assets increased over the month by 2.8% and 4.8% during the year, to £1.649 trillion. For the month, liabilities increased 5% and for the year, 2.9%, to £1.693 trillion.
PPF said in its update that the FTSE All-Share index gained 2.7% for the month and 6.4% for the year. Five- to 15-year index-linked gilt yields fell 21 basis points in March and fell 51 basis points over the year.
As of March 31, 59.9% of the 5,450 pension funds covered by the index were underfunded, up from 57.2% on Feb. 28. As of March 31, 2018, 63% of the 5,450 pension funds covered by the index were in deficit.