Mercer Tool Sheds Light on Executive Retirement Benefits

July 12, 2006 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Mercer Human Resource Consulting has developed a tool to help companies determine the value of executive retirement benefits, allowing them to see how their executive packages stack up to that of their peers.

Mercer’s Executive Benefits Research Tool (EBeRT) uses current data from more than 700 companies to help organizations determine the relative value of executive retirement benefits, the release said. The source data includes the most recent Securities and Exchange Commission proxy filings, and actual retirement and deferred compensation plan documents.

The company said in a release that the tool would help companies comply with corporate governance proposals by the SEC that, if passed, would require greater disclosure of the total compensation packages of top executives, which would include retirement benefits.

“In the past, companies were compelled to use surveys to estimate the value of their executives’ retirement benefits plans and compare them to the market,” said Janet Den Uyl, a Mercer worldwide partner and group leader for the firm’s executive benefits business, in the release. “Such surveys can be difficult to interpret and are often out-of-date.

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class=”NormalIndent2″>According to the release, the tool will help companies to:

  • Determine the prevalence of various types of nonqualified retirement plans (including SERPs and restoration plans) offered by an organization’s peer companies;
  • Understand the projected level of retirement benefits peer companies offer their executives;
  • Analyze the plans’ provisions that could materially affect the perceived value to executives;
  • Monitor trends, such as the shift from defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans.

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