The pension funded status of the nation’s largest corporate sponsors increased sharply in 2013 due primarily to rising interest rates (which lowered liabilities) and a strong stock market, according to a new analysis by global professional services company Towers Watson
In reviewing estimated year-end pension plan results, Towers Watson found that 2013 pension plan funding levels increased by 16 percentage points to reach their highest levels since 2007.
The Towers Watson analysis examined pension plan data for the 418 Fortune 1000 companies that sponsor U.S. tax-qualified defined benefit pension plans and have a December fiscal-year-end date.
Results indicate that the aggregate pension funded status is estimated to be 93 percent at the end of 2013, a sharp jump from 77 percent at the end of 2012, but still well below the 106 percent funding at the end of 2007. Overall, pension plan funding improved by $285 billion last year, leaving a deficit of $99 billion at the end of 2013.