Controlling funded status volatility is the top priority for defined benefit plan sponsors for the third consecutive year, according to a recent survey. Nearly three-quarters (70%) of those polled said funded status volatility was a “high” priority, while 43% ranked it as an “extremely high” priority for 2012.

Coming in at No. 2 was the need to improve the funded status of their pension plans.

“Market swings and low interest rates have really taken a toll on the funded status of pension plans over the past few years,” says Jon Waite, director, investment management advice and chief actuary with SEI’s institutional group. “Many plan sponsors now face the burden of making substantial contributions to their plans in order to meet funding requirements.”

Conducted in January, the quick poll surveyed 50 executives who oversee DB plans ranging from $25 million to $10 billion in assets.

“As markets continue to be volatile, plan sponsors continue to pursue sophisticated risk management strategies designed to better control volatility of the funded status of their pension plans,” says Waite.

For a complete list of the top 10 priorities for DB plan sponsors in 2012, watch for next week’s slideshow.

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