Conversions to hybrid plans by the top U.S. corporate defined benefit plans have slowed, according to a new analysis by Watson Wyatt Worldwide. The study noted that 33% of the Fortune 100 companies have hybrid plans, up from 32% two years ago, when the IRS temporary halted approving such conversions, and from 22% in 1998. "As the conversion to hybrid pensions has drawn attention from Congress over the past two years, the price tag for these conversions has escalated, said Eric Lofgren, director of the benefits consulting group at Watson Wyatt. New proposed Treasury Department rules on cash balance plans later this year could lift that moratorium.
Also, 401(k) plans among the Fortune 100 companies increased to 17% at present, from 16% in 2000. But fewer companies now sponsor traditional pension plans 50%, according to the latest survey, down from 52% in 2000.