Most sponsors of substantial U.S. retirement plans say they are trying to keep the plans going this year.

Researchers in the Stamford, Conn., office of Towers Perrin Forster & Crosby Inc., have reported that finding in a summary of results from a February survey of 480 human resources and benefits executives at large and midsize U.S. employers.

Only 3% of the participants at employers with defined benefit pension plans said the employers intend to close the plans to new participants within the next 18 months.

Only 10% said their employers were thinking about closing the defined benefit plans.

Fewer than 10% of the participants at employers with defined contribution plans said the employers have suspended or intend to suspend making matching contributions, and only 19% said their employers are considering suspensions.

But the participants also said plan participants appear to be nervous.

Only 7% are predicting an increase in 401(k) plan participation, and 43% reported seeing increases in defined contribution plan loans and hardship withdrawals, the Towers Perrin researchers report.