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Navigating the Complexities of Pension Plans

You face a myriad of challenges as the administrator of your company’s defined benefit plan— funding liabilities, shifting regulations, escalating costs, and longer life expectancies just to name a few. Addressing these challenges is essential for minimizing the impact on your company’s financials.

Our retirement plan advisors understand the intricacies of managing active, frozen and terminating plans and work closely with you to develop a course of action to mitigate risk, reduce costs and drive better results.

  • Plan diagnostic and goals assessment
  • Investment policy development
  • Comprehensive portfolio management services
  • Risk transfer consulting and portfolio de-risking strategies
  • Funding monitoring and gap analysis
  • Plan termination analysis
  • Vendor searches, evaluation, monitoring and benchmarking

Simplified Administration. Reduced Fiduciary Risk. Lower Costs.

Maintaining, freezing, or terminating a defined benefit plan can be a costly, time-consuming and overwhelming process. Let us take some of the burden off your shoulders.

  • Increased Fiduciary Protection. We can serve as your Outsourced Chief Investment Officer (OCIO), 3(21) co-fiduciary, or 3(38) fiduciary investment manager, assuming some or all of the responsibility for selecting and monitoring your plan’s investments. We’ll help you determine which level of delegation is right for you based on your plan committee’s investment knowledge, preferred involvement and risk exposure.
  • Streamlined Execution and Coordination. Your finance, HR and benefits teams have many responsibilities as they take care of the company and its employees. We coordinate and help execute all the investment and administrative tasks related to your defined benefit plan—giving them more time for their other priorities.
  • Cost Efficiencies. Between the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) premiums , investment fees, third-party vendors, the cost to maintain your defined benefit plan can quickly add up. We analyze your current fee structure to identify cost-saving opportunities without sacrificing value. These cost reductions can decrease the time it takes to fully fund or terminate your plan, potentially saving years in plan administration.

Managing the Asset and Liabilities Side of the Equation

Many plan sponsors significantly underestimate the plan’s asset liability risk. We look at all the components of your pension plan both individually and collectively, offering integrated solutions that address your current and future needs while mitigating risk.

Plan Diagnostic and Goals Assessment

Do you want to maintain your pension plan? Transfer liabilities to participants or insurance companies? Reduce your funding shortfall? Before providing any recommendations, we take time to understand your goals and evaluate the current state of the plan. From there, we work with you to develop and execute the best solutions for your situation.

Plan Diagnostic and Goals Assessment
Investment Policy Development

A properly diversified portfolio is critical for meeting long-term benefit and funding obligations. We help you create an Investment Policy Statement (IPS) that provides a road map for your investment decisions. Your IPS outlines your organization’s goals, target asset allocation, investment preferences, restrictions and more.

Investment Policy Development
Comprehensive Portfolio Management Services

Our support doesn’t end with the IPS. We also help you implement your policy through portfolio optimization, glidepath management, liability-driven investing, portfolio rebalancing and liquidity management. The goal is to help ensure the interest-rate hedge ratio and level of equity exposure of your portfolio align with your goals, market conditions and risk profile.

Comprehensive Portfolio Management Services
Risk Transfer Consulting and Portfolio De-Risking Strategies

Should you offer lump-sum payouts? Deferred vested benefits? Does an annuity buyout make more sense? Should you pursue liability-driven investing? We help you weigh the pros, cons and potential impact of each option, so your plan committee can make sound decisions.

Risk Transfer Consulting and Portfolio De-Risking Strategies
Funding Monitoring and Gap Analysis

Longer life expectancies mean longer benefit periods for your former participants and higher costs for your plan. Underfunding can also increase costs in the form of larger PBGC premiums. We help you analyze your current funding ratio and mortality assumptions, and provide solutions for managing your funding liabilities more effectively.

Funding Monitoring and Gap Analysis
Plan Termination Analysis

The decision to terminate your defined benefit plan requires careful consideration—how will terminating affect your company, current participants and former employees? Plus, there’s a specific process you have to follow based on IRS and PBGC rules. We’re with you at every phase to make the termination smooth and seamless for everyone involved.

Plan Termination Analysis
Vendor Management

Given the complexity of defined benefit plans, many employers outsource plan functions to a third party. We conduct RFPs, benchmark fee structures, and evaluate the value of the services being provided to help you select the best providers for your plan.

We work with open, closed, and frozen pension plans of all sizes and complexity. Even if your plan is fully funded and on its way to being terminated, there are many chances for missteps that can cost time and money, if you don’t understand all your options.

Constantine Mulligan, CFA


Defined Benefit Consulting Services—An Extension of Your Benefits Team

Qualified retirement plans are a maze of regulations, investments and financial calculations. You need an advisor who has the expertise in all three and will use this expertise to help you deliver maximum value to your participants and your bottom line. That’s Cerity Partners.

Take the Complexities Out of Managing Your Plans

We focus on your benefit offerings so you can focus on your other priorities.