UK - Nearly 90,000 firms have already designated a stakeholder scheme since the launch in April, new figures reveal.
But industry sceptics are casting doubts over the figures by suggesting that the bulk of the schemes are likely to be designate-only with no contributing employees to the plans.
The figures - which were unveiled by the Association of British Insurers - prompted an immediate backlash from critics who pointed out that many providers include dormant schemes to boost their reputation in the market.
Analysts, however, claim insurance firms are keeping open dormant schemes – which are expensive baggage for providers in the 1pc environment – because they expect the government to make employer contribution compulsory in either this or the next parliament.
Earlier, Scottish Equitable - part of Dutch financial services giant Aegon - revealed that it has set up more than 1000 stakeholder schemes.
Aegon UK group chief executive David Henderson said: “I find a lot of the negative comment that surrounds the introduction of stakeholder pensions a bit perplexing. The stakeholder effect has led to quite buoyant activity in the group pensions sector.
“Whether the most suitable form of provision for the corporate or individual sector is stakeholder or not, the point is that this new legislation will inevitably lead to vast numbers of people taking out a private pension who previously were not part of the market.
Henderson added: This is good news not just for ourselves, as a major participant in the sector, but for the pensions investor and for the government in its demographic planning.
• Aegon UK's pretax profits rose 11pc to £114m and its new annual premiums increased 53pc to £182m in the first half of 2001.
Annualised premium income rose 24pc to £327m while its assets under management remained unchanged on the same period last year at £34bn.
HS Administrative Services – the group's third party pension pension administration division – reported fee income for the first half of the year rose to £2.3m.
Aegon UK also said its Guardian Financial Services insurance business is to be re-branded as Aegon UK Services.
By Alistair Graham
The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) is consulting on proposals to charge a "risk reflective" levy for commercial defined benefit (DB) consolidation vehicles.
The funding gap across FTSE 350 schemes could be slashed by as much as £275bn if schemes look beyond traditional ways of creating value. Victoria Ticha examines how
There will be "many flavours" of defined benefit (DB) consolidators but consolidation will only be the right answer for a minority of schemes, Alan Rubenstein says.
Work and Pensions Committee (WPC) chairman Frank Field has questioned the regulator on what lessons it can learn from the experience of the Kodak Pension Plan No.2 (KPP2).