Us - The funding level of S&P1500 companies stabilised in January, latest estimates from Mercer reveal.
Despite this, it said the value of both pension assets and liabilities declined during the month - which reduced the dollar amount of the estimated aggregate deficit to US$380bn from $409bn at the end of December.
Mercer financial strategy group member Adrian Hartshorn said: "Discount rates increased during January, which reduced the value of pension plan liabilities. Asset values also declined.
"The lower value of assets combined with the lower value of liabilities means that the monetary amount of the deficit is slightly smaller compared to the end of December 2008. However, the ratio of assets to liabilities remains unchanged."
He added: "The majority of US companies have their financial year-ends at December 31, so month-by-month changes have little direct impact. However, with the general market volatility it is important that corporate sponsors of defined benefit pension plans monitor the funded status regularly and understand the business impact of change."
At December 31, 2007, the pension plans sponsored by companies in the S&P 1500 had an aggregate surplus of $60bn and a funded status of 104%.
Standard Life has increased exposure to risk assets in three out of five funds in its Active Plus and Passive Plus workplace pension ranges.
Some 48% of employers are unaware of the services or help they offer to members of their defined contribution (DC) schemes, according to Aon.
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