UK - Watson Wyatt has increased the funding levels on its own group pension funds from 86% to 96% over the past year.
The consultant’s report and accounts to the end of April this year show the total value of assets at £108.4m against liabilities of £113.3m.
The improved position was achieved by both investment gains and an increase in employer contributions from £3.8m to £10.4m.
Watson Wyatt’s UK defined benefit scheme, which accounts for the largest portion of assets in the group schemes, is more healthily funded. Its assets total £89.3m and cover 103% of liabilities.
The UK fund is still open to new employees on a discretionary basis.
The valuation was carried out by both current and former members using the projected unit method – Watson Wyatt is currently in the third year of transition to FRS17 accounting standards.
The valuation assumes an expected rate of return of 7.25% for equities, 5.2% for bonds and 6.5% for property.
General business figures for Watson Wyatt show that its turnover grew by £18m to £242m and that its profits grew by £11m to £68m.
Watson Wyatt managing partner Babloo Ramamurthy said it had been a difficult year for the firm’s human resources services and that a strategy review had led it to focus more on reward consulting.
The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) has announced it will shrink its board by more than one-third as part of a governance overhaul to make it "agile and more appropriate".
Smaller FTSE 350 defined benefit (DB) schemes were nearly 15 percentage points less well-funded than larger schemes in 2017, according to a Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM) analysis.
The advent of collective pension systems could help the UK avoid demographic challenges which will make it "impossible" for society to help savers in retirement, experts say.