TEXPERS Survey Finds Support for DB Plans

May 27, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – A survey commissioned by the Texas Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems found Texas voters who are 401(k) holders view defined benefit retirement plans managed by public employers as effective.

Among the 503 respondents, 54% do not believe that public employees who already receive defined benefits managed by pension systems should be forced to change to a 401(k); 43% think public employees should be allowed to retain their defined benefit plans; and 28% think they should be forced into 401(k) type plans.   

The survey showed a lack of confidence in defined contribution retirement plans versus defined benefit retirement plans. Forty-five percent of Texas voters think an employer pension system would do a better job of managing their retirement investments, while 21% think individuals do a better job. In addition, 29% believe that the average return of 401(k) investments is not competitive with the returns generated by larger defined benefit pension systems, compared with 17% who do think the returns would be competitive.   

Nearly a third (31%) don’t believe their 401(k) will have enough money in it when they retire and another 23% aren’t sure.  Fifty-eight percent said their 401(k) has less money in it or is about the same as three years ago.   

The survey also found half (51%) of voters don’t believe that cutting public employee pensions is an effective way to balance city and state budgets.   

The Texas Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems (TEXPERS) is a statewide voluntary nonprofit association that provides education and advocacy services to the Trustees, administrators, professional service providers and employee groups that manage the retirement money of police, firefighters, municipal and district employees in cities across Texas.  

The Texas Municipal Retirement System was PLANSPONSOR’s 2010 Public Plan Sponsor of the Year (see Public Plan Sponsor of the Year: Texas Municipal Retirement System).