UK - Personal Accounts will lead to a widespread review of pensions and closure of existing schemes in smaller firms, the Association of Consulting Actuaries (ACA) warns.
It found over two thirds of employers (67%) thought the reforms would lead to a leveling-down of average pension contributions.
And more than half (55%) of schemes failed to meet the exemption test set in the current Pensions Bill, with only 28% of employers expected to use their current pension arrangements as the scheme into which they would enroll employees.
ACA chairman Keith Barton said: "It is very clear there is a huge under-pensioning of millions of employees, but our survey suggests the benchmark set by the government may weigh very heavily on smaller firms."
Standard Life head of pensions policy John Lawson explained the reason many schemes were failing the qualifying earnings test was because the test used banded earnings and non-basic elements of pay such as bonus and overtime.
He said: "The key problem is the exemption test; not the generosity of employers. The government needs to simplify this test so that generous schemes can continue to contribute 8% or more of basic pay."
Conservative pensions spokesman Nigel Waterson added: "This report is further evidence of the very real risk of 'levelling down' of workplace pensions following the introduction of personal accounts.
"We have been warning for some time that many employers may close existing more generous schemes, and that a high proportion of lower-paid workers will opt out of the new system. Ministers need to address these and other issues, and soon."
Enhanced powers for The Pensions Regulator (TPR) to prosecute and fine company directors who "wilfully or recklessly" put their defined benefit (DB) pension scheme at risk will be hard to enforce, commentators say.
Melrose has pledged to contribute up to £1bn to GKN's pension schemes as part of a final offer to acquire the engineering business.
Existing master trusts will be forced to pay £41,000 when applying for authorisation under the upcoming regime, the government has confirmed.
UPDATE 2 - DWP publishes DB white paper: Stronger powers for TPR, DB chair statements to be introduced
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) will be given the power to fine company bosses who deliberately puts their defined benefit (DB) schemes at risk, the government has confirmed.