Corporate Defined Benefit Plans have benefited from 2013's huge market gains in equities. Funding ratios, which gauge assets relative to liabilities, have improved by 11 percent for the average corporate pension fund, according to a research paper released by PIMCO entitled "De-Risking Pensions in a Time of Tapering."

Rene Martel and Markus Aakko, both executive vice-presidents for the Newport, Ca., based global investment management firm, co-authored the paper, which cites the Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index as proof of improved funding in corporate defined benefit pension plans.

And while this is a good problem to have, the question going forward is what to do with the gains. Many pensions plans, according to the PIMCO paper, have a preset "glide path" that calls on riskier assets to be reinvested into safer instruments after a period of improved funding.

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Nick Thornton

Nick Thornton is a financial writer covering retirement and health care issues for BenefitsPRO and ALM Media. He greatly enjoys learning from the vast minds in the legal, academic, advisory and money management communities when covering the retirement space. He's also written on international marketing trends, financial institution risk management, defense and energy issues, the restaurant industry in New York City, surfing, cigars, rum, travel, and fishing. When not writing, he's pushing into some land or water.