Pricing risk in corporate pension plans: Understanding the real pension deal

New accounting rules and increased scarcity of risk capital have led to growing pressure on corporations to shift pension plan risk from employers to participants. This implies a shift from Defined Benefit (DB) plans to a variety of collective and individual Defined Contributions (DC) plans. Most of these shifts have been ad-hocand not based on clear and objective criteria. This article shows how negotiations could be clarified by using modern option pricing and financing techniques. Both the value of the guarantees regarding accrued pension rights, as well as future rights to be accrued, can be objectively determined. For example, the authors show that a shiftfrom a typical DB to a collective DC plan should cost the employer a lump sum payment of twelve percent of the accrued pension obligations and an increase in the contribution rate at four percent of pay.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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