As companies struggle with underfunded defined-benefitpension plans, more are deciding to offload the chore of investingtheir plan assets.

Russell Investments, which has been providing such outsourcedinvestment management, which it calls fiduciary solutions, since1980, said it received 31% more completed requests for proposals(RFPs) for investment outsourcing last year than it did in 2011.And a recent survey by Asset International's Chief InvestmentOfficer Magazine showed 55% of companies with pension plansdid some investment outsourcing or plan to do so within the next 24months.

“The interest level has increased quite a bit,” said Eric Macy,managing director of fiduciary solutions at Seattle-based Russell.“People talked about it for a few years, but last year we reallystarted seeing it.”

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Susan Kelly

Susan Kelly is a business journalist who has written for Treasury & Risk, FierceCFO, Global Finance, Financial Week, Bridge News and The Bond Buyer.