Milliman Analysis

Corporate Pensions' Funded Ratio Rises to 91.6% Despite Investment Losses in April

Discount rate increase leads to $20 billion funded status improvement for Milliman 100 PFI plans

SEATTLE, May 18, 2018 /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 April, these pensions experienced a $20 billion improvement in funded status thanks to an increase in the corporate bond rates used to measure pension liabilities. From March 31, 2018 through April 30th, the monthly discount rate increased 12 basis points, from 3.91% to 4.03%; as a result, pension liabilities decreased by $26 billion for the month. The funded ratio for the PFI plans increased from 90.6% to 91.6%, despite a 0.11% investment loss that reduced index assets by $6 billion.

“Corporate pensions continue to get some discount rate relief in 2018, despite volatile equity markets,” said Zorast Wadia, co-author of the Milliman 100 PFI. “Over the past 12 months, with the rise in rates and a 6.17% cumulative asset gain for these plans, we’ve seen the funded ratio climb from 85.5% to 91.6%.”

101% by end of 2018?

Looking forward, under an optimistic forecast with rising interest rates (reaching 4.43% by the end of 2018 and 5.03% by the end of 2019) and asset gains (10.8% annual returns), the funded ratio would climb to 101% by the end of 2018 and 117% by the end of 2019. Under a pessimistic forecast (3.63% discount rate at the end of 2018 and 3.03% by the end of 2019 and 2.8% annual returns), the funded ratio would decline to 87% by the end of 2018 and 81% by the end of 2019.

Corporate pensions continue to get some discount rate relief in 2018, despite volatile equity market

To view the complete Pension Funding Index, go to This May PFI publication reflects the annual update of the Milliman 100 companies and their latest financial disclosures. To see the 2018 Milliman Pension Funding Study, go to 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 18 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 2018 Pension Funding Study are based on the pension plan accounting information disclosed in the footnotes to the companies’ annual reports for the 2017 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.