The cost of maintaining a U.S. pension plan is more expensive than transferring liabilities to an insurance company, according to the latest Mercer US Pension Buyout Index.

The cost of purchasing annuities from an insurer as a way to pass off pension liabilities stayed about the same in January, at 108.5 percent of the accounting liability of a defined benefit pension plan. The cost to maintain the plan increased slightly from 108.6 percent to 108.7 percent of the balance sheet liability.

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