SEATTLE, Jan. 12, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Milliman, Inc., a premier global consulting and actuarial firm, today released the results of its latest Pension Funding Index (PFI), which analyzes the 100 largest U.S. corporate pension plans. In December, the funded status for these pension plans improved by $13 billion due to robust investment returns of 1.17%, and the funded ratio increased from 80.3% to 81.0% to close out the year. Overall, interest rate declines characterized 2016, with the end of August marking the lowest discount rate (at 3.32%) in the PFI's 16-year history. Since that point and coincident with the conclusion of the U.S. presidential election, interest rates have steadily increased.
"2016 was a rollercoaster of a year, but we're ending up nearly where we started – with a funded ratio of 81.0%," said Zorast Wadia, co-author of the Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index. "Going into 2017, rumors of potential multiple interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve have plan sponsors and pension practitioners closely watching market activity. If interest rates continue to climb, the funded ratio could make some major gains."
Looking forward, under an optimistic forecast with rising interest rates (reaching 4.59% by the end of 2017 and 5.19% by the end of 2018) and asset gains (11.2% annual returns), the funded ratio would climb to 93% by the end of 2017 and 106% by the end of 2018. Under a pessimistic forecast (3.39% discount rate at the end of 2017 and 2.79% by the end of 2018 and 3.2% annual returns), the funded ratio would decline to 74% by the end of 2017 and 68% by the end of 2018.
To view the complete Pension Funding Index, go to http://us.milliman.com/PFI. To see the 2016 Milliman Pension Funding Study, go to http://us.milliman.com/PFS/. To receive regular updates of Milliman's pension funding analysis, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Milliman is among the world's largest providers of actuarial and related products and services. The firm has consulting practices in healthcare, property & casualty insurance, life insurance and financial services, and employee benefits. Founded in 1947, Milliman is an independent firm with offices in major cities around the globe. For further information, visit milliman.com.
About the Milliman Pension Funding Study
For the past 16 years, Milliman has conducted an annual study of the 100 largest defined benefit pension plans sponsored by U.S. public companies. The results of the Milliman 2016 Pension Funding Study are based on the pension plan accounting information disclosed in the footnotes to the companies' annual reports for the 2015 fiscal year and for previous fiscal years. These figures represent the GAAP accounting information that public companies are required to report under Financial Accounting Standards Board Accounting Standards Codification Subtopics 715-20, 715-30, and 715-60. In addition to providing the financial information on the funded status of their U.S. qualified pension plans, the footnotes may also include figures for the companies' nonqualified and foreign plans, both of which are often unfunded or subject to different funding standards from those for U.S. qualified pension plans. The information, data, and footnotes do not represent the funded status of the companies' U.S. qualified pension plans under ERISA.
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SOURCE Milliman, Inc.