Surplus? What Surplus?
Pensions & Investments (01/02) Vol. 30, No. 2 p.1; Anand, Vineeta

A new report by Ryan Labs finds that pension fund liabilities outperformed pension assets by 45 percent between December 1999 and September 2001. According to the report, for the nine months ended Sept. 30, pension liabilities outpaced assets by 16.6 percent. But experts warn that it will be a while before a positive outlook becomes cemented in reality because annual pension liabilities are based on the four-year weighted average interest rate on the benchmark. To make matters worse, experts say plan sponsors can expect a repeat performance for pension funds if the stock market does not improve this year. Ryan Labs President Ronald J. Ryan attributes the liabilities issue to a steep decline in 30-year Treasury bond rates. Michael Peskin, a principal in the global pensions group at Morgan Stanley, warns that the situation is going to cause investors to begin pressuring companies to report current pension liabilities in their annual financial statements and disclose the contribution amount they plan to put in their pension funds in the current fiscal year, a practice they are not obligated to follow under current rules.

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