Many of the U.S. employers that sponsor defined benefit pension plans want to keep them going.

Consultants at Towers Perrin Forster & Crosby Inc., Stamford, Conn., have based that assessment on a survey of 439 finance executives with large U.S., U.K. and Canadian employers.

About 71% of the executives who participated said their companies want to keep the pension plans viable.

But 76% of the sponsors that are seeking to keep their plans going said they will be focusing more on reducing risk than on seeking additional investment returns.

About 40% of the U.S. participants said their companies would be “very likely” to reconsider pension plan sponsorship if pension accounting rules make income statements more volatile.