The Employee Benefit Research Institute has issued a re-port to combat the widespread perception that traditional pension plans are all but obsolete.

Though alternatives, such as 401(k) plans, are clearly attracting a growing share of retirement dollars, the growth is not occurring at the expense of tradi-tional pensions, according to the institute, a nonpartisan public-policy group.

That's because much of the growth in 401 (k) plans and other so-called defined-contribution plans has been among small companies that otherwise might have sponsored no pension plan, the report found.

Furthermore, employees of large private and public-sector employees still look to traditional pensions, or defined-benefit plans, to provide their primary retirement benefit, according to Dallas Salisbury, president of the institute.

Between 1975 and 1989, the number of private pension plans more than doubled, from 311,000 to 731,000, the report said.

And the number of active participants in these plans increased from 31 million to 43 million.

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