The value of defined benefit pension funds in Ireland rose by 10% last year, according to pensions specialist Mercer.

Data from the firm’s Pensions Risk Survey has shown that the accounting deficit of defined benefit schemes had fallen by around €1.6 billion over the past year.

Mercer said that many schemes continue to face funding challenges, however the past year will have eased the pressure on them somewhat.

“Global equities saw tremendous growth and were up by over 20% during 2013, delivering some relief to underfunded schemes”, said Sean O’Donovan, head of Mercer’s Defined Benefit Risk Group.

He said many trustees and companies were now better prepared for volatile market conditions, and were in a better position to protect gains than before