In September, the funded status of the 100 largest corporate defined benefit pension plans rose by $38 billion as measured by the Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index (PFI). The deficit fell to $269 billion primarily due to an increase in the benchmark corporate bond interest rates used to value pension liabilities. Asset returns were flat during September. As of September 30, the funded ratio increased 85.4%, up from 83.8% at the end of August.
The market value of assets remained at $1.580 trillion at the end of September due to a monthly investment return of 0.25%. The projected benefit obligation decreased by $38 billion during September, lowering the Milliman 100 PFI value to $1.849 trillion from $1.887 trillion at the end of August. September’s month-end discount rate of 3.09% ranks as the second lowest discount rate recorded in the 19-year history of the Milliman 100 PFI.