S&P: State pension fund declines have likely bottomed out

The decline in state pension funded levels has likely bottomed out, Standard & Poor's said Wednesday, even as it warned the recovery in pension plans will be slow and uneven.

"Althoughthis is likely the low point, which is good news, we believe pension funded level recovery could be slow and uneven and sizable funding gaps will remain for most states," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst John Sugden in a report.

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The firm cited the uncertain future of the bull market and increased risk-taking by pension managers as possible risk factors that could make funding levels more volatile in future.

"While reform efforts continue, which will help over the long term, we see continued pressure related to market volatility, increased competition for limited state financial resources, and changes in actuarial assumptions," the ratings service said in a report.

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