Pension Pulse Pension funds at the dawn of 2014: Catch the rebound! (J.P. Morgan)

December 2013

KEYWORDS: Private Pension, asset allocation, S&P 500, Volatility, unfunded liability, Public Pension, fixed income

Authors:

Karin Franceries, Rafael Silveira, Liz Golden, Gang Chen

Organizations:
  • J.P. Morgan

Summary:
In 2013, plan sponsors experienced the largest yearly funded status increase in more than a quarter of a century. In contrast to the previous five years, each of which had been worse than the last, the aggregate funded status of the Russell 3000 finally improved—by more than 17% from year-end 2012 through November 2013, to 94%. We estimate that, barring extreme market moves, funded status will rise to 96% by the end of December 2013. Strong growth asset returns explain more than 60% of this improvement—U.S. equity, represented by the S&P 500, gained better than 29%—with the balance related to a decrease in the discounted value of liabilities. Whatever their initial funded ratio, plans across the U.S. have seen an increase in funded status. During the year, one plan in five went from underfunded to overfunded.

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