Aon Hewitt monitors and analyzes daily pension funding levels of U.S., U.K., Continental European and Canadian companies in the S&P 500, FTSE 350, DJ Euro Stoxx 50 and TSX, through its Pension Risk Tracker tool. The analysis found that the funded status of global pension plans were 87 percent at the end of 2010, up slightly from 86 percent at the beginning of the year. According to Aon Hewitt’s estimate, global pension assets increased by 8 percent during the year, while pension liabilities increased by 7 percent over the same period.
In Continental Europe, asset values remained relatively flat, outstripped to an extent by faster liability growth. Average funded ratios fell from 75 percent to 71 percent over the year. However, significant volatility in asset markets and bond markets (driving liability values) saw funding levels fall as low as 64 percent in August, before reaching a peak of 73 percent just before the December holiday season. Europe saw a marked increase in fourth quarter funding levels as a result of rising bond yields. This volatility was demonstrated in the full percentage point fall in funding level seen on the last trading day of the year.