Abstract This stochastic simulation analysis compares funding costs and volatilities for private sponsors of traditional defined benefit (DB), pension equity (PE), cash balance (CB), and defined contribution (DC) retirement plans. Plan provisions
of equivalent benefit generosity in the different plan types are determined. The modeling includes current funding requirements and practices as well as a comprehensive set of uncertainties in asset and labor markets. The results show that costs and risks for sponsors vary significantly with
plan types, investment and funding strategies, and participant demographics. The hybrid PE and CB plans exhibit characteristics of cost efficiency, as in the DB plan, and risk reduction, as in the DC plan, for plan sponsors under conventional investment strategies. These features are more
saliently observed in the CB plan, but it is also more difficult to implement effective asset–liability management strategies for it.