Pension Plans:

Plans With Excess Assets

HRD-86-100BR: Published: May 30, 1986. Publicly Released: May 30, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reported on excess assets in ongoing single-employer-defined benefit pension plans.

GAO analyzed ongoing plans for 1981 and 1983 to assess the extent of and changes in excess plan assets. GAO found that, in 1983: (1) 10,080 of the 14,581 plans were overfunded by a total of about $57 billion; (2) about 70 percent of the 10,080 overfunded plans had assets that exceeded the value of participants' benefits by at least 25 percent; and (3) about 43 percent had excess assets of at least $1 million each. GAO also found that: (1) between 1981 and 1983, plan overfunding increased significantly; (2) although the number of overfunded plans rose by 25 percent during the period, the total excess assets in the overfunded plans increased from $23 billion in 1981 to $43 billion in 1983; and (3) the number of overfunded plans and the amount of excess assets for all plan-size and industry groups increased significantly.

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