Almost 20% of final salary schemes closed to future accrual

Almost 20% of UK final salary pension schemes are now closed to future accrual, according to research  by Hewitt Associates.

Its survey of 154 schemes also showed the number of plans being frozen in this way could double over the next year.

Some employers are considering retaining a final salary scheme but capping growth in pensionable pay, or moving to a career average (Care) scheme.

Tony Baily, principal consultant at Hewitt Associates, said: “There are often good reasons for freezing plans. However, the recent wave of plan freezes potentially puts pressure on other companies simply to follow suit, without really understanding whether this best meets their business objectives and constraints.

“For some companies, the driving factor to freeze is to achieve equality of terms between defined benefit and defined contribution [scheme] members; for others it might be one of risk management. Whatever the reason, it is important to have a solid business case to help the workforce or trustee board understand the reasons for change.”

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