Defined benefit (DB) schemes saw their aggregated deficit more than double over December, ending 2018 with a funding level of 93.5%, says JLT Employee Benefits.
On an IAS 19 accounting basis, the funding shortfall for all private sector DB schemes was recorded at £107bn, far higher than the £48bn posted at the end of November.
The consultancy's figures mean the combined funding level fell from 96.9% to 93.5% over the month - the lowest level recorded since March 2018, when it was 92.1%.
Across all schemes, assets amounted to £1.5trn while liabilities were valued at £1.6trn.
Both FTSE 100 and FTSE 350 schemes saw a similar fall in funding levels of around three percentage points. The former's position dropped from 99.8% to 97.0% funded, while the latter's declined from 99.2% to 96.2%.
The consultancy's chief actuary, Charles Cowling, said 2018 had proven to be a "turbulent" year for DB schemes, noting continued quantitative easing, updated mortality estimates, and volatile markets.
"So, it is a very mixed picture for companies and their pension schemes," he said. "Some have successfully navigated the turbulent markets, have paid in significant additional contributions and are now looking to lock down on emerging pension surpluses by securing pension liabilities in the insurance market."
"We believe that 2019 will be another bumper year for insurance company buyouts, possibly enhanced by the emergence of other superfund consolidators, which are looking at different and cheaper routes for companies to offload their pension liabilities."
The Pension Protection Fund recorded DB schemes were in an aggregate surplus position on a section 179 basis at the end of November for the first time since 2011.
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