Integrated Actuarial and Investment Solutions
River and Mercantile Solutions is a leading institutional investment and actuarial advisor and fiduciary manager. We are dedicated to providing our clients with the understanding and tools to successfully meet the investment goals of their institution. River and Mercantile Solutions is a division of River and Mercantile Group PLC, which is publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange (Ticker: RIV).
Equity returns of 15% or higher would usually be cause for celebration among corporate pension plan investors. However, despite these strong returns, many plan sponsors have seen a decline in their funded ratios during 2019. This is mainly attributable to falling interest rates, causing the value of liabilities to increase faster than assets for many. This is a continuation of a frustrating cycle that plan sponsors are all too familiar with: strong equity returns offset by rapidly rising liability values.
August proved to be a difficult month for equity markets as continuing trade tensions and weakening economic data triggered a flight to safety. As a result, interest rates fell across the curve more so at the long end which caused a portion of the yield curve to invert. Emerging market equities were hurt the most in this off-risk environment. Given the above, funded status for plans that were not hedged likely decreased significantly for the month.
PBGC premiums for 2019 are coming due soon, and there are two options to determine the interest rate used when calculating a plan’s premium based on underfunding. One option will reduce the premium this year, but at the likely cost of a higher premium next year.