US - Public pension schemes saw their funding positions deteriorate significantly in 2008, according to a new report by Wilshire Consulting.
The latest annual study covered 104 city and country retirement systems and estimated the average funding ratio - ratio of assets to liabilities - had declined from 99% in 2007 to 81% in 2008.
Of the 104 plans surveyed, 73 reported actuarial values on or after June 30, 2008, of which the report found the average funding ratio shrank from 96% in 2007 to 78% in 2008.
The assets of these 73 schemes fell by -14% from $248.1bn in 2007 to $214.4bn in 2008, while associated liabilities grew by 6% from $258.9bn to $274.3bn over the same period.
This led to a significant increase in the aggregate shortfall from -$10.8bn in 2007 to -$59.9bn in 2008.
The vast majority (89%) of the 73 retirement systems reported to be underfunded - had less assets than liabilities - in 2008, Wilshire found.
The aggregate funding ratio of these underfunded schemes was 77%.
Wilshire forecasts that the vast majority of city and county retirement systems will not earn long-term returns on their assets that equal or exceed their actuarial interest rate assumptions.
The long-term median return on city and county pension assets estimated by Wilshire is 7.2%, which is 0.8 percentage points below the average actuarial interest rate assumption of 8.0%.
Wilshire said asset allocations varied widely among city and county schemes, but reported that the average allocation to equities - including real estate and private equity - was 63.6%, with the balance invested in fixed income.
The equity exposure was slightly higher than the 63.0% reported five years prior in 2003.
Thirty of the 104 schemes surveyed held at least 70% of assets in equities and other non-fixed income assets, such as private equity and real estate, while eight schemes held less than 50%.
Most respondents in this week's Pensions Buzz do not think businesses should be able suspend AE contributions if in financial distress.
Former BHS owner Dominic Chappell has lost the appeal against his section 72 conviction and sentence for failing to hand over information to The Pensions Regulator (TPR).
This week's top stories include Marsh and McLennan Companies agreeing to buy JLT, and the home secretary calling for AE to be scrapped in a no-deal Brexit scenario.
Lesley Titcomb says the watchdog wants closer interactions with pension funds to spot problems sooner and act before having to use its more stringent powers