US - Over half (58%) of state defined benefit (DB) pension plans have funding levels above 80%, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has reported.
The report attributed the decline in funding levels to falls on stock markets, which reduced the value of pension fund assets.
While the GAO said short term under funding was not a significant threat to benefits, as current assets and contributions could be sufficient to pay these for the foreseeable future, it warned unless funding increased - by either increasing contributions or cutting spending - higher costs would inevitably have to be passed on to future generations.
The report was compiled at the request of senators Max Baucus and Charles E. Grassley of the Senate Committee on Finance. They said they were concerned that an unsustainable public retirement system might lead to financial pressure being brought to bear on the federal government through demands for bailouts.
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Malcolm Mclean says getting the channels of communication right and engaging more openly is a good starting point