Defined benefit pension plans have outperformed defined contribution plans in many years since the mid-1990s, according to a study by Towers Watson.

DB plans outperformed DC plans by an annual average of 76 basis points between 1995 and 2011. This performance gap shrank to 39 basis points from 2007 to 2011, thanks in part to the stock market boom of 2009, when the Russell 2500 Index increased by 34 percent and returns from DC plans reached 20.86 percent — their highest level since 1995. DC plans beat DB plans by 5.4 percent in 2009.

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