The Impact of Pension Freezes on Firm Value
This paper addresses the issue of value creation in the context of defined benefit pension freezes. In addition, we study the market response to freeze announcements. We find evidence that freezes do in fact enhance underlying firm value but that market valuation lags in responding to this increase. Economic logic supports the notion that pension freezes are value creating, as managers cite lower expense volatility and improved cost structure as top reasons for implementing a plan freeze. The lagged market response presents the possibility that markets are not semi-strong efficient with respect to pension freezes. In this regard, our results corroborate recent work from other researchers who have found various market inefficiencies related to defined benefit pensions.