Nearly half of corporate pension plan sponsors think they aren't spending their time on the functions that should be their priorities because of recent FASB funding and accounting changes and the Pension Protection Act, according to a poll by SEI.
"That was actually the big revelation about the poll, but when you think about it, it's not that surprising," said James Morris, senior vice president of retirement solutions at SEI. Mr. Morris said corporate pension executives realize they need to focus more on the strategic side of managing pension risk instead of making tactical decisions.
One such tactical decision is evaluating, selecting and terminating managers. Pension executives might start shifting more responsibility for "hiring and firing" to consultants, Mr. Morris said; of the 84% of respondents who said they favor outsourcing a pension investment function, 37% chose evaluation, selection and termination of managers. Another 27% said they prefer outsourcing the research for new investment products, and 14% said they wanted to outsource overall asset allocation strategy.
SEI surveyed 92 executives in the last quarter responsible for managing pension plans with $30 million to $5 billion each in assets.