|CUMMINS INC filed this Form 10-K on 02/11/2019|
The expected long-term return on plan assets is used in calculating the net periodic pension cost. We considered several factors in developing our expected rate of return on plan assets. The long-term rate of return considers historical returns and expected returns on current and projected asset allocations. Projected returns are based primarily on broad, publicly traded passive fixed income and equity indices and forward-looking estimates of the value added by active investment management. At December 31, 2018, based upon our target asset allocations, it is anticipated that our U.S. investment policy will generate an average annual return over the 30-year projection period equal to or in excess of 6.25 percent approximately 37 percent of the time, including the additional positive returns expected from active investment management.
The one-year return for our U.S. plans was (1.7) percent for 2018. Our U.S. plan assets have averaged annualized returns of 10.22 percent over the prior ten years, and resulted in approximately $313 million of actuarial gains in accumulated other comprehensive income in the same period. Based on the historical returns and forward-looking return expectations and as plan assets continue to be de-risked, consistent with our investment policy, we believe an investment return assumption of 6.25 percent per year in 2019 for U.S. pension assets is reasonable.
The methodology used to determine the rate of return on pension plan assets in the U.K. was based on establishing an equity-risk premium over current long-term bond yields adjusted based on target asset allocations. At December 31, 2018, based upon our target asset allocations, it is anticipated that our U.K. investment policy will generate an average annual return over the 20-year projection period equal to or in excess of 4 percent approximately 50 percent of the time. The one-year return for our U.K. plans was (1.8) percent for 2018. We have generated average annualized returns of 9.97 percent over ten years, resulting in approximately $352 million of actuarial gains in accumulated other comprehensive income. Our strategy with respect to our investments in pension plan assets is to be invested with a long-term outlook. Based on the historical returns and forward-looking return expectations as the plan assets continue to be de-risked, we believe an investment return assumption of 4.0 percent in 2019 for U.K. pension assets is reasonable. Our pension plan asset allocations at December 31, 2018 and 2017 and target allocation for 2019 are as follows:
The differences between the actual return on plan assets and expected long-term return on plan assets are recognized in the asset value used to calculate net periodic cost over five years. The table below sets forth the expected return assumptions used to develop our pension cost for the period 2016-2018 and our expected rate of return for 2019.
GAAP for pensions offers various acceptable alternatives to account for the differences that eventually arise between the estimates used in the actuarial valuations and the actual results. It is acceptable to delay or immediately recognize these differences. Under the delayed recognition alternative, changes in pension obligations (including those resulting from plan amendments) and changes in the value of assets set aside to meet those obligations are not recognized in net periodic pension cost as they occur but are recognized initially in accumulated other comprehensive loss and subsequently amortized as components of net periodic pension cost systematically and gradually over future periods. In addition to this approach, GAAP also allows immediate recognition of actuarial gains or losses. Immediate recognition introduces volatility in financial results. We have chosen to delay recognition and amortize actuarial differences over future periods. If we adopted the immediate recognition approach, we would record a loss of $889 million ($699 million after-tax) from cumulative actuarial net losses for our U.S. and U.K. pension plans.