The funded status of defined benefit pension plans in the U.S., Canada and the Netherlands has declined since the end of 2011, according to new data from Mercer, but the United Kingdom's DB plans have seen some improvement.

The funded status of the Netherlands fell from 96 percent to 80 percent due to drops in the discount rate used to measure pension liabilities. The Netherlands isn't alone, Mercer said. Multinationals with pension obligations in Germany and Ireland also will be facing larger liabilities.

The funded status of the UK's DB plans remained steady until September when it took a sharp jump to 92 percent. Those in the U.S. declined from 75 percent to 73 percent, while those in Canada declined from 87 percent to 83 percent. The cause of movement in each market is primarily declining discount rates combined with lackluster asset performance.  The UK increased because the yield on high quality corporate bonds increased and the market implied long-term inflation reduced leading to a 33 percent reduction in FTSE350 deficits for the month of September.

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