The nosedive in the funded status of pension plans seen in January is a good reminder to plan sponsors that they need a plan to lock in gains.

That's the word from Russell Investments, which noted that "the speed of the reversal (in January) had been unexpected, (and that) it's events like this that remind us why planning is essential."

The company argued last fall that improved funded status and favorable markets was the exact time pension plan sponsors should move to de-risk their plans to preserve gains. Companies that didn't take action took a hit.

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