About 40% of finance executives at companies that offer defined benefit plans view having the plans as a competitive advantage, according to Prudential Financial Inc.

Prudential, Newark, N.J. (NYSE:PRU), has published that finding in a summary of results from a recent survey of 171 senior finances executives at U.S. companies that sponsor defined benefit plans with $250 million or more in assets.

About 53% of the survey participants said their senior management spends much more time on benefits decision-making now than in the past, and 48% said benefits matters are consuming more the finance staff’s time and attention.

But executives increasingly view benefits programs as a key employee retention tool, Prudential says.

About 86% of the participating executives said benefits are at least as important in efforts to attract and retain employees as they were a year ago.

Other survey findings:

  • 77% of the participants said their companies pay more attention to cost when selecting providers.
  • 44 of the participants said their companies are likely to consolidate providers within the next year.

- Warren S. Hersch

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