Defined benefit plans

As an employer, you may face complex challenges and opportunities with your defined benefit (DB) plan. We understand what’s important to you and can help you meet today’s challenges with our experience in the DB space, managing a breadth of plans across various industries.


We customize strategic investment solutions to ensure that your investment implementation is aligned with your plan’s long-term needs, objectives, and risk tolerance.


Watch our video to learn about the benefits of engaging an Outsourced Chief Investment Officer for your defined benefit pension plan.

Our integrated defined benefit (DB) capabilities include:


  • Flexible pension solutions across investment consulting, discretionary investment management (OCIO), trust, custody, administration, and pension payments
  • Customized strategic consulting based on asset-liability modeling
  • Advisory and discretionary management approaches that include tactical and strategic asset allocation
  • A broad and open-architecture investment platform with extensive due diligence by our Chief Investment Office (CIO)
  • Liability-driven investment (LDI) and de-risking strategies1
  • Comprehensive, fully outsourced plan administrative, recordkeeping and participant services


Bank of America's solution set for DB plans is enabled by service offerings across three important areas:


Investment consulting


  • Co-fiduciary services2 - investment management services for DB pension plans
  • De-risking strategy and customized portfolio structure based on the specific liability for a DB pension plan
  • Strategic asset/liability analysis and monitoring


Outsourced CIO Investment management


  • Discretionary management of dynamic investment policies
  • Manager selection leveraging CIO due diligence
  • LDI and dynamic de-risking implementation
  • Investment policy statement development


Institutional trust and custody


  • Bank of America custodial platform
  • Customized separate account implementation
  • Pension payments and tax-reporting 1099-R


Frequently asked questions

Does Bank of America offer an Outsourced Chief Investment Officer (OCIO) solution for defined benefit (DB) plans?

Yes, Bank of America is among the industry leaders in OCIO services for defined benefit pension plans.

What services does bank of America provide for pension plans?

Bank of America is capable of acting both an investment advisor as an ERISA 3(21) fiduciary and an investment manager as an ERISA 3(38) fiduciary. Within those offerings, Bank of America offers: strategic and tactical investing strategies, liability driven investment (LDI) capabilities, regular portfolio rebalancing, daily funded status monitoring, regular reporting, and robust asset liability modeling. Additionally, Bank of America offers institutional trust and custody and pension payment capabilities.

What is the difference between an ERISA 3(21) investment advisor and an ERISA 3(38) investment manager?

As a 3(21) fiduciary, Bank of America acts as an investment advisor and will provide asset allocation guidance and manager recommendations—with the plan sponsor retaining decision making responsibility. As a 3(38) fiduciary, Bank of America has discretion over plan investments, will implement investment strategy, and is responsible for the plan’s day-to-day investments.

Does Bank of America implement liability driven investing (LDI) for pension client portfolios?

Yes, Bank of America offers LDI for its defined benefit clients. For large plans, Bank America implements fully-customized LDI to ensure an even tighter match with the liability characteristics. Our Chief Investment Office’s fixed income group includes a team dedicated to building and maintaining customized LDI portfolios. For small plans, ETFs or other comingled funds can be utilized to match the key characteristics of the plan.

What are the fiduciary responsibilities of Bank of America under an Outsourced Chief Investment Officer (OCIO) mandate?

Under an OCIO mandate, Bank of America is responsible for providing guidance on the investment strategy for a particular plan and its participants and for implementing the strategy. Investment implementation includes dynamic de-risking, manager selection, and trading/rebalancing. Under and OCIO arrangement, Bank of America is a 3(38) fiduciary.

Get in touch today

Khristian Hawver-Scott headshot

Eileen Pickard

Managing Director

Workplace Benefits Sales


Find out how we can help. Connect with us.

See how our banking with Bank of America and investing with Merrill can help empower your employees.

1 For plans with over $50 million in assets.

As discretionary trustee of your defined benefit pension plan, Bank of America will act as a co-fiduciary for investment management and will manage plan assets consistently with the duties and standards established under ERISA.