UK - Defined benefit pension schemes reached an aggregate deficit of £194.5bn (US$277.5bn) in December 2008, figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal.
In June 2007, prior to the worst of the declines in equity and bond values, schemes posted an aggregate surplus of £130.4bn, amounting to a total funding fall of £324.9bn in 18 months.
However, the ONS also noted a sea change in the way UK sponsors view investments and asset allocations, with funds increasingly lowering their holdings in equities. During the 1990s, the average DB plan held more than 70% of its assets in listed equities, falling to just over 60% by 2007.
Similarly, equity holdings were overwhelmingly UK-focused, with around three-quarters of equity investments in UK companies. By 2007 this had fallen to a mix of 58% UK and 42% overseas.
Recent research by consultant Mercer found the deficit of FTSE350 schemes to be £33bn, having increased from £13bn at the end of 2007.
HMRC has confirmed providers operating relief at source pension schemes can continue to collect automatic tax relief at a basic rate of 20% under new Scottish Income Tax rules.
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) is seeking "improved" powers to set a schedule of contributions in defined benefit (DB) schemes in the government's upcoming white paper, it has revealed.
New regulatory rules which require providers and advisers to produce annuity illustrations will not solve the problem of consumer detriment as they are "fundamentally" flawed, according to Retirement Advantage.
Paul Budgen is set to join financial technology and auto-enrolment (AE) firm Smart Pension as director of business development.