Based on the latest Mercer/CFO Research survey:
May 25, 2021, NEW YORK – Defined Benefit (DB) pension plans in the US are emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic into one of the most favorable policy and market environments they have seen in years – but DB sponsors remain cautious from years of secular headwinds. According to the 6th edition of the biannual Mercer/CFO Research Risk Survey “Next Steps in Pension Risk Management,” the pandemic offered a unique stress test for plan sponsors, as well as new opportunities to solidify and strengthen their deliberate, multi-year strategies. The survey makes clear that CFOs are seeking strong, strategic counsel – both in-house and outsourced – to help navigate what could be the most favorable landscape for defined benefit pension plans in many years.
“2020 proved to be a true stress test for defined benefit plans, as COVID-19 created disruptions in financial markets and corporate balance sheets. However, it also created opportunities for sponsors with a strategy to improve their financial position, and many took advantage,” said Matt McDaniel, Partner, US Financial Strategy Group, Mercer. “This survey makes clear that CFOs saw a heightened need for good strategy through the pandemic and are seeking both the right tools and counsel to navigate funding policy, risk transfer activity and investment portfolio management.”
Among the survey’s key findings:
About the survey methodology
The survey, conducted by CFO Research of Industry Dive, polled 201 senior finance executives at companies in the United States with an online questionnaire. Most of the companies represented had annual revenues of $500 million or more. Companies represented a full spectrum of industry sectors, including financial services/real estate, auto/industrial/manufacturing, healthcare, technology, and retail/consumer.
Mercer believes in building brighter futures by redefining the world of work, reshaping retirement and investment outcomes, and unlocking real health and well-being. Mercer’s approximately 25,000 employees are based in 43 countries and the firm operates in 130 countries. Mercer is a business of Marsh McLennan (NYSE: MMC), the world’s leading professional services firm in the areas of risk, strategy and people, with 76,000 colleagues and annual revenue of $17 billion. Through its market-leading businesses including Marsh, Guy Carpenter and Oliver Wyman, Marsh McLennan helps clients navigate an increasingly dynamic and complex environment. For more information, visit www.mercer.com. Follow Mercer on Twitter @Mercer.
CFO Research, of Industry Dive, has been a trusted source of insight into the business issues that matter most to finance professionals since its founding in 2000. CFO Research is the sister firm of CFO.com and relies on senior finance executives to share their experiences, insights, and observations on critical business issues. This cutting-edge research supports critical business decisions by our sponsors, as well as their thought leadership positioning and marketing efforts.