US - Deficits of the pension funds sponsored by S&P 1500 companies were $45bn less at the end of January than they were a month earlier, figures by Mercer show.
The aggregate deficits totaled $271bn, versus $315bn at the end of December.
The deficit was bolstered by a 20 basis point increase in January in high quality corporate bond yields used as the discount rate. Meanwhile, equity markets were up with the S&P 500 index gaining 2%.
Jonathan Barry, a partner with Mercer's retirement risk and finance consulting group said: "With the gains that have been achieved, we could see an acceleration in the shift away from equities into bonds for corporate pension plans, as sponsors are willing to give up some expected return to reduce the variability of pension funding and accounting costs."
This week's edition of Professional Pensions is out now.
Nearly 60% of UK employers consider defined contribution (DC) master trusts to be the "most suitable" pension fund for their employees, according to research by Buck.
Companies which have tried to dodge their pension duties by changing their identities are being "hunted" by The Pensions Regulator (TPR) in a crackdown on non-compliance with auto-enrolment (AE).
Removing liquidity restrictions would enable DC funds to capitalise on the potentially higher and safer returns that DB schemes have benefitted from, says Patrick Marshall.