Milliman analysis: Corporate pension asset portfolio for Milliman PFI with MMRS returned 2.0% in Q4

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By Tamara Ann Burden, Mitch Morin | 13 April 2016
Bouncing back from a tumultuous third quarter, corporate pension assets in the Pension Funding Index (PFI) made gains of approximately 2.2%, and the PFI with Milliman Managed Risk Strategy (MMRS) was not far behind. Fourth quarter 2015 realized volatility was 4.9% for the PFI and 4.5% for the PFI with MMRS. Heightened volatility equated to heightened protection-- and thus higher effective cash levels-- through much of October, drawing performance down, though only slightly. Assets in the PFI with MMRS returned 2.0% for the fourth quarter, capturing about 90% of upside return coming off the third quarter market correction. These percentage returns translated to $14.4 billion in gains for the actual PFI, and $18.9 billion in gains for the PFI with MMRS. On the liability side, projected benefit obligations decreased by $3 billion for the quarter. Domestic equities drove the growth in plan assets underlying the PFI this quarter. The fourth quarter offered international equities a season of relief after a tempestuous year. Bonds, unlike equities, were down.