New challenges: A tale of two (kinds of) plans
The April issue of Institutional Real Estate Americas includes a feature, “All about that bass”, that focuses on developments in the defined contribution pension fund sector. As the story explains, the shift away from high-cost defined benefit pension schemes has been underway for decades in the corporate pension fund sector.
The shift at a given fund takes a predictable path. First, a decision is made by a defined benefit pension plan sponsor to offer its participants a defined contribution pension fund alternative in the form of a thrift, savings, 401(k) or similar type of plan. After several years, a decision is made to freeze the defined benefit plan and to offer new hires only the opportunity to participate in the plan sponsor’s defined contribution plan or plans. Meanwhile, the plan sponsor continues to make contributions on behalf of those grandfathered under the old plan agreement, and the assets in the plan continue to grow — for a while. Eventually,