Volume 21, No. 7

State Of The Pension Promise: The S&P 500 in 2011:  Just like the weather: everybody talks about pensions, but nobody does anything about them. In this report, we’ll take a look at the critical points to inspect in pension plans - then we’ll tackle what to do about them, from an investor’s point of view. Pension disclosures amount to a separate set of financials within the financial statements, making pensions one of the tougher aspects for investors to evaluate - yet they can affect a firm’s capital structure at the margins, and affect managers’ financing and dividend policy decisions. Much as investors may hate to assess pensions, they still merit attention.
Unfortunately, the low interest rates punished pension plans in 2011, despite modest asset returns. For now, underfunded plans are the unhappy norm.

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