U.S. defined benefit pension plan sponsors appear to be more worried about liabilities and less worried about assets than they were a year ago.

Analysts at a unit of MetLife Inc., New York (NYSE:MET), have presented that conclusion in a summary of results from a survey of 166 sponsors of large corporate pension plans.

A year ago, sponsors hit hard by Great Recession losses listed asset allocation and meeting return goals as the top two priorities.

Today, allocation ranks fourth on the list of priorities, and meeting return goals ranks 14.

This year, liability measurement ā€” routinely reviewing liability valuations and understanding the drivers that contribute to plan liabilities ā€” and coming up with strategies for managing funding contribution levels are the top two priorities, the MetLife analysts report.

Sponsors also are showing more interest in early retirement risk, mortality risk and longevity risk, the analysts found.