Volume 20, No. 6

 

State Of The Pension Promise: The S&P 500 in 2010:  In the annual report tour, one of the usual stops made by investors is the pension plan footnote. Through various FASB edicts, the pension footnote is now so swollen in size that it’s turned into the engorged tick of the financial statement package - and causing investors to perhaps spend less time with it than they should. This report tours the most critical aspects of the pension plans of the S&P 500 companies. Pensions are like a company within the company, and affect managements’ marginal investing and financing decisions. Investors should pay attention to the pension status every year.

Markets were quite strong for 2010. How did the pension plans fare? The short answer: so-so. There’s a slight  improvement in overall funding status, and a few firms contributed mightily to their pile of pension assets. Still, there remains a yawning gap between assets and benefit obligations for most firms.

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