Facing Up to Pension Underfunding

Recent moves by big companies to bolster their defined-benefit plans indicate they are waking up to the fact that while last year's market rally helped, on average, plans ended 2010 considerably short of full funding. Just last week, General Motors contributed $2 billion worth of company stock to its DB plan, which it had announced last fall, and AT&T said it was changing its pension plan accounting.

Plan sponsors "are coming to accept that the market is not going to come rushing back to their rescue and that they are going to have to make some contributions over the next several years," says Jon Waite, chief actuary and director at SEI, an investment solutions provider in Oaks, Pa.


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