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Most Financial Execs Feel Pension Plans can Hurt Company, Survey Indicates

Of survey respondents, 68 percent said their companies have closed defined benefit plans to new or all employees in the past five years.

December 14, 2011

The majority of finance executives believe their pension plans pose at least a moderate risk to their companies' financial performance, according to a survey conducted by CFO Research Services in collaboration with Mercer.

When asked what factors would have the greatest effect on their company's decisions regarding their defined benefit plans (with an option to select up to two), 65 percent of respondents said the volatility in financial markets; 36 percent said low interest rates; 30 percent, the financial impact of the defined benefit plan on company performance or profitability; and 15 percent, the volatility in the company's operating performance or profitability.

Of survey respondents, 68 percent said their companies have closed defined benefit plans to new or all employees in the past five years. The survey was conducted with 192 finance executives with various titles. Of those executives, half worked with companies with DB plans of more than $1 billion, and the other half worked with companies with smaller DB plans.

The full report will be made available on Dec. 15 on Mercer's website.

Rob Kozlowski writes for Pensions & Investments, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, email editors@workforce.com.

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