UK - "Cautious confidence" may be returning to the pensions industry, a new study by Aon Consulting suggests.
The survey shows that 80% of FTSE350 companies have no plans to change their pension arrangements in the next year.
Aon said that 43% of firms claimed that pensions now had only a “moderate” or “less severe impact” on their business while a further 51% claimed their pension situation was “severe but manageable”.
This position was further reinforced as 31% of companies said that the equity downturn had made no impact on their investment strategy, while 20% had made small reductions to their equity holdings and 32% modest increases to their bond holdings.
But two-thirds of the employers that Aon surveyed were deeply concerned that Green Paper proposals would pose a “significant” threat to their pension schemes.
Only 20% of employers felt that the government’s proposals to tax provisions on any funds in excess of £1.4m would be helpful.
And 70% of employers disapproved of the government’s proposal to charge a levy to insure defined benefit schemes and warned that the increased costs resulting from such legislation would actively discourage pensions savings.
Worst still, 52% of respondents felt that the proposed pensions legislation would force their company and employees to look elsewhere for their retirement provision because of increased costs and complexity.
Aon Consulting head of research Simon Martin said: “Employers have resoundingly indicated that current and expected pensions legislation is more of a hindrance than a help.
He added: “At a time when the government needs to encourage private pension provision, the results are discouraging.
“Introducing such muddled pensions legislation creates a real danger that the government will bring about the opposite outcome to that which it hoped for and so result in less future private pension provision.”
The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) is in the process of convening an industry-wide group to take forward the work of the Institutional Disclosure Working Group (IDWG).
The Transfers and Re-registration Industry Group (TRIG) has given its support to an initiative which aims to complete occupational pension transfers within three weeks.
Scottish Widows has completed a bulk annuity deal for the Hitachi UK Limited Pension Scheme.