Funding and Investment Strategies for Defined Benefit Pension Plans

Effective funding and investment strategies are critical for ensuring the long-term sustainability of defined benefit pension plan In this article, we explore key considerations and best practices for funding and investing DB plan assets.

Funding Considerations

Funding a DB plan involves setting aside sufficient assets to meet future benefit obligations. Actuaries play a crucial role in determining the funding requirements based on factors such as projected liabilities, investment returns, and demographic trends. Employers are required to make contributions to the plan to ensure it remains adequately funded.

Investment Strategies

DB plan assets are typically invested in a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, and other securities with the aim of generating returns to meet future benefit payments. Asset allocation is a key consideration, balancing the need for growth with the preservation of capital. Many DB plans employ a liability-driven investment (LDI) approach, which matches assets with liabilities to minimize funding volatility.

Risk Management

Effective risk management is essential for protecting DB plan assets and ensuring their long-term sustainability. This includes managing investment risk, interest rate risk, and longevity risk, among others. Employers may use techniques such as asset-liability modeling and hedging strategies to mitigate these risks and stabilize funding levels.

Regulatory Compliance

DB plans are subject to regulatory oversight to ensure they meet certain funding and reporting requirements. Employers must comply with regulations set forth by government agencies such as the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) in the United States. Failure to meet regulatory standards can result in penalties and sanctions.


Funding and investment strategies are vital components of managing defined benefit pension plan effectively. By implementing sound practices for funding, investing, and risk management, employers can ensure the long-term sustainability of their DB plans and provide retirees with financial security in retirement.

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