Pension Funding Constraints and Corporate Expenditures

Weixi Liu and Ian Tonks

This paper examines the impact of a company’s pension contributions on its dividend and investment policies. The effects of shocks to cash flows on these corporate expenditures are identified by changes to pension funding regulations. Using a sample of DB pension schemes in FTSE350 UK listed firms we find a strong negative relation between pension contributions and corporate dividends even after controlling for the correlation between funding status and unobserved investment opportunities. We find that the more stringent funding requirements under the Pensions Act 2004 had a more pronounced effect on both dividend and investment sensitivities to pension contributions.

Key words:- Pension contributions, financial constraints, dividend sensitivity, investment sensitivity, Pensions Act 2004

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