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May Warmth for Pension Plans

Practice Management

“Fair freshhe May,” wrote Chaucer. Perhaps he was referring to this one, which smiled kindly on private-sector pension plans according to several reports. 

Funded Status 

Reports show that the funded status of private-sector pension plans improved in May, according to October Three, Wilshire and Insight Investment:


Agilis also reported that in May, the improvement in most plans' funded status for most pension plans will be slight to moderate.

Longer Term

These analysts also show improvement in pension plans’ funding levels for the year so far: 

Assets vs. Liabilities

Pension plans’ asset levels declined a little in May, say all three. October Three notes that while assets fell for both of the plans it tracks, overall for 2023 so far assets for both still have improved since New Year’s Day. 

However, all three are also consistent in reporting that private pension plans’ liabilities fell in May by a bigger amount than assets — which spelled overall gain. Wilshire attributes the results  to improvement in Treasury yields, which it says resulted in liabilities dropping by more than did asset values, since high-quality fixed income securities had higher yields. 

Similarly, Agiiis reports that it found that in May the drop in liabilities exceeded the decreases in assets, which it says should have resulted in most pension plans realizing improvements in their funded status.