US - Almost half of plan sponsors feel the new pension rules require attention in areas where internal resources are not presently focused, a poll by SEI has found.
Most plan sponsors felt managing the financial risks posed by the plan should be the top pension priority. By contrast, executives said their people were dedicating too much time to other areas.
"More than half of those polled said their pension staff is currently spending most of its time on functions such as researching new investment products and selecting managers recommended by a consultant," SEI said.
Respondents cited reductions in smoothing, the 100% funding target, new accounting rules, and revised yield curve discounting as areas that were complicating plan management.
In turn, plan sponsors are considering new investment products and asset allocation strategies which are causing them to realise current processes need to change, said SEI retirement solutions senior VP Jim Morris.
"CFOs realise they need to take an objective-based risk management approach to their plan," said Morris . "However, what many of them have is a consultant-driven, asset-only based process. Pension reform serves as an opportunity for them to re-think their core competencies and to realign their resources to address the needs of the organisation."
A total of 92 US executives, responsible for managing defined benefit plans ranging from $30m to over $5bn in assets, participated in the poll.
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