The Portfolio Pension Plan: An Alternative Model for Retirement Security

Richard C. Shea, Robert S. Newman, and Jonathan P. Goldberg

Abstract — This chapter describes a proposed new defined benefit (DB) pension design known as a portfolio pension plan. This design falls within a larger category of so-called ‘shared risk’ pension plans. In the United States, shared risk pension plans address a need created by the limitations of existing retirement plan designs. An alternative to existing designs is needed because DB plans to date have concentrated risk on plan sponsors in a way that makes them financially unsustainable in many, if not most, circumstances. Moreover, existing defined contribution (DC) retirement plans impose risk on employees in a way that is challenging for most individuals to manage. In the past, many employers shared risk with employees by providing both a DB and a DC plan. Nevertheless, this chapter argues that a new model can provide an alternative that better serves employers and employees in the United States.