9 in 10 final salary schemes closed to new recruits

Tuesday, 01 September 2009 12:01

Almost nine out of ten final salary pension schemes are now closed to new entrants and existing members can expect to see their future benefits slashed, according to a report.

The Association of Consulting Actuaries’ (ACA) found 87 per cent of final salary schemes are closed to new entrants.

But the next round of pension changes will affect existing members, the ACA forecast.

Employers responding to the survey said 39 per cent of defined benefit schemes were presently considering changes to future benefits, with 35 per cent considering a move to career average and 22 per cent switching to defined contribution.

ACA chairman, Keith Barton, said: “This latest survey confirms all our worst fears about the loss of quality pension schemes and how this is now moving on to a phase where future benefits for existing members are likely to be pinned back as employers struggle to hold down costs within existing legislation.”

The high costs of running final salary schemes, combined with rising longevity and falling stock market returns has led many employers to withdraw their pension plans or cut benefits.

Out of the remaining final salary schemes, nine out of ten are in deficit, the ACA said.

The survey also found 76 per cent of employers felt their employees would not be happy to take on all the risks of the pension scheme, but felt present legislation leaves no way of sharing the risks between employers and staff.

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