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Better funded plans hold more cash

Firms with higher funding ratios are likely to have more cash on their balance sheets. The position underfunded plans are in could worsen with PBGC premiums expected to increase significantly over the next 18 months and relatively little cash available with which to boost plan assets.

A total of 96 corporate pension plans were examined, ranging from the $2.5 billion Sempra Energy plan to the $61 billion General Motors plan. NextEra Energy had the highest funding ratio at 147%. Energy and financial firms make up most the top rankings by funding ratio.

The relationship between asset size and funding ratio is minimal; plan asset size is generally not an indicator of funded status.