Big companies may be using more nonqualified deferred compensation plans but fewer supplemental executive retirement plans.

Researchers at Clark Consulting Inc., Chicago, have published figures supporting that conclusion in a summary of results from a survey covering executive benefits at 180 large employers.

About 95% of the participating companies said they have nonqualified plans, up from 91% in 2005, but the percentage that said they have SERPs fell to 67%, down from 83% in 2004.

About 72% of the participants with informally funded nonqualified plans are funding the plans with corporate-owned life insurance, up from 70% in 2005 and up from 55% in 2003, the Clark researchers report.

Similarly, about 74% of employers with informally funded SERPs are using COLI as the funding vehicle.

Because of the increasing complexity of executive benefits, about 85% of the participants use outside firms to handle some or all aspects of nonqualified plan administration, the Clark researchers report.