For more than a decade, the monthly Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index has been closely monitoring the 100 largest pension plans in the United States. When the index started, pension plans were 135% funded with over $200 billion in surplus assets. Today, the figures show these pension plans as only 74% funded and with $400 billion in deficit assets. September 2010 brought a heartening uptick, however, with gains of about $67 billion. Milliman consultant John Ehrhardt, who has overseen and authored the findings of this critical index since its origins, considers some of the ramifications of the recent numbers in this video interview with Asset International. In sounding a note of cautious optimism, he also offers practical advice for plan sponsors and discusses liability-driven investments (LDI).