Of all the ways they might cut back, CFOs don't seem to be targeting pension plans. A recent survey of 191 U.S. finance executives by CFO Research Services on behalf of Towers Perrin finds a majority saying they plan to keep their plans rather than ditch them, and that they have the cash flow to do it even in a year when market losses have hammered the funds.
Related research by Watson Wyatt indicates that the percent-age of companies freezing their plans increased only slightly in the past year, from 27% in 2008 to 31% in 2009. Why? For most, such moves don't result in true savings. "Few companies can freeze a plan and not have to replace it with something else, like a richer 401(k) match," says Alan Glickstein, senior retirement consultant for Watson Wyatt.