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Minimum funding ratios for defined-benefit pension funds

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  • SIEGMANN, ARJEN

Abstract

We compute minimum nominal funding ratios for defined-benefit (DB) plans based on the expected utility that can be achieved in a defined-contribution (DC) pension scheme. Using Monte Carlo simulation, expected utility is computed for three different specifications of utility: power utility, mean-shortfall, and mean-downside deviation. Depending on risk aversion and the level of sophistication assumed for the DC scheme, minimum acceptable funding ratios are between 0.87 and 1.20 in nominal terms. For relative risk aversion of 5 and a DC scheme with a fixed-contribution setup, the minimum nominal funding ratio is between 0.87 and 0.98. The attractiveness of the DB plan increases with the expected equity premium and the fraction invested in stocks. We conclude that the expected value of intergenerational solidarity, providing time-diversification to its participants, can be large. Minimum funding ratios in real (inflation-adjusted) terms lie between 0.56 and 0.79. Given a DB pension fund with a funding ratio of 1.30, a participant in a DC plan has to pay a 2.7 to 6.1% point higher contribution on average to achieve equal expected utility.

Suggested Citation

  • Siegmann, Arjen, 2011. "Minimum funding ratios for defined-benefit pension funds," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(03), pages 417-434, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jpenef:v:10:y:2011:i:03:p:417-434_00
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    1. repec:eee:insuma:v:74:y:2017:i:c:p:182-196 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Eichhorst, Werner & Gerard, Maarten & Kendzia, Michael J. & Mayrhuber, Christine & Nielsen, Conny & Rünstler, Gerhard & Url, Thomas, 2011. "Report No. 42: Pension Systems in the EU – Contingent Liabilities and Assets in the Public and Private Sector," IZA Research Reports 42, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Damiaan Chen & Roel Beetsma & Dirk Broeders, 2015. "Stability of participation in collective pension schemes: An option pricing approach," DNB Working Papers 484, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    4. repec:wfo:wstudy:57913 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. An Chen & Filip Uzelac, 2015. "Portability, Salary and Asset Price Risk: A Continuous-Time Expected Utility Comparison of DB and DC Pension Plans," Risks, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(1), pages 1-26, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • J50 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - General

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