Employers still use same pensions advisers as their trustees

Many employers are continuing to seek advice from the same source as their pension scheme trustees.

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) Pensions survey, up to 44% of employers still use the same firm of actuarial advisers. Of these employers, 35% use the same individual actuary, while a further 17% are unaware of whether their actuary also advises the trustees. Historically, employers and trustees used the same actuarial adviser, but the Pensions Act 2004 was a catalyst to separate their advisers.

Marc Hommel, partner at PwC, said: "A growing number of employers and trustees are recognising that using the same firm of advisers is increasingly hard to justify and, in some cases, risky. There is gathering pace for appointing independent firms."

The survey also showed that 76% of companies are now paying more to regain financial control of their pensions commitments than they did three years ago. Nearly 60% of respondents said they have reached agreement with trustees over future funding plans, although some may not understand the full implications of the new funding regime.

Employers also also continuing to move from defined benefit (DB) to defined contribution (DC) schemes with a third of larger employers and approximately 10% of smaller employers now operating an open DB scheme.

The survey also found that 30% of respondents believe pensions have become more important in the last three years in attracting, motivating and retaining both senior executives and other staff. Only 11% say their company’s pension offering has become less important for achieving this aim.