US - The funding status of S&P 1500 company pension schemes "remained broadly unchanged" in August despite a continued recovery in equity markets, Mercer says.
The consultant said the growth in equity values was offset by declining corporate bond yields - which it said led to an increase in the value of pension liabilities.
It estimated the aggregate deficit of S&P1500 sponsored schemes at the end of August was US$278bn, compared with $279bn at the end of July.
This translated to an aggregate funded status of 81% at the end of August, unchanged from the position at the end of previous month.
August's position was still down on figures at the end of 2008, when the aggregate deficit was reported to be $409bn, equivalent to a funded status of 75%.
Mercer Financial Strategy Group member Adrian Hartshorn said there had been a positive equity return in every month from the end of March to the end of August this year, amounting to a total return of 29.2%.
"However, over the same period the corresponding liabilities have grown by over 24%," he added.
"Measuring asset return relative to liabilities and funded status provides sponsors with a more informative perspective on the changes in the financial position of the pension plan and the impact on their business - contribution requirements and pension expense, for example.
"Regular monitoring of the funded status, together with the necessary knowledge of the market environment and good governance around decision-making, allows plan sponsors and fiduciaries to take advantage of the dynamic risk management opportunities available to them."
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