Partners in Preservation

Corporate Pensions Experience Largest Gains of the Year in September

Milliman 100 PFI funded status improves by $26 billion, funded ratio climbs to 84.3%

SEATTLE, Oct. 9, 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 September, these pension plans experienced their largest improvement year-to-date, with a $26 billion increase in funded status. The improvement was the result of a nine-basis-point increase in discount rates coupled with market value gains, which saw the Milliman PFI plans’ funded ratio climb from 83.0% to 84.3% for the month.


New Mortality Tables

“While September’s positive performance is welcome news for these pensions, it’s tempered somewhat by the recent release of the new mortality tables by the IRS,” said Zorast Wadia, co-author of the Milliman 100 PFI. “Much of the fourth quarter will be spent in anticipation of how the new regulation will affect 2018 cash contribution funding, PBGC premiums, and de-risking efforts.”

Looking forward, under an optimistic forecast with rising interest rates (reaching 3.84% by the end of 2017 and 4.44% by the end of 2018) and asset gains (11.0% annual returns), the funded ratio would climb to 87% by the end of 2017 and 101% by the end of 2018. Under a pessimistic forecast (3.54% discount rate at the end of 2017 and 2.94% by the end of 2018 and 3.0% annual returns), the funded ratio would decline to 83% by the end of 2017 and 76% by the end of 2018.

To view the complete Pension Funding Index, go to To see the 2017 Milliman Pension Funding Study, go here. To receive regular updates of Milliman’s pension funding analysis, contact us at

About Milliman
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

About the Milliman Pension Funding Study
For the past 17 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 2017 Pension Funding Study are based on the pension plan accounting information disclosed in the footnotes to the companies’ annual reports for the 2016 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.