UK - Just under half of UK companies would consider terminating their pensions plan if proposals from the Accounting Standards Board (ASB) are adopted, according to professional services firm Towers Perrin.
The proposals were part of a consultation paper released by the ASB last week entitled The Financial Reporting of Pensions.
One of the paper's main proposals was that defined benefit pension liabilities for accounting disclosure purposes should be assessed using a "risk free" discount rate - a rate significantly lower than the corporate bond "AA" rate currently used.
This could cause a significant increase in the value of pension liabilities shown in company accounts, with some employers having to disclose pension liabilities very close to the cost of an insurance company buy out.
Mark Duke, principal and head of pensions at Towers Perrin, said: "Many employers believe strongly that the ASB's proposals would misrepresent their pension costs.
"Importantly these proposed disclosures could trigger a new wave of pension plan closure.
"In our view no single measure can adequately capture the costs and risks associated with running a defined benefit pension plan. It would be distressing if a one-dimensional debate about accounting costs became a major driver of pension change."
The Towers Perrin research followed a call from Punter Southall for companies to lobby against the proposed changes from ASB, along with those contained in Solvency II.
Danny Vassiliades, principal at Punter Southall, said: "In the last week occupational final salary schemes have been faced with a twin threat: the adoption of Solvency II by the EU and the proposal to measure liabilities using risk-free rates on the balance sheet.
"Both proposals would result in significant increases in either employer contributions to such schemes or on the cost that is recognised within the P&L.
"Finance directors need to be aware of these issues and make their voice heard to ensure that the potential dangers of these changes are averted."
Jonathan Stapleton asks whether newly-accredited professional trustees should be a statutory fixture on pension scheme boards.
Savers are being warned by the Insolvency Service to guard their pension pots from investment scammers and negligent trustees as it winds up 24 companies.
Respondents say they should only be required in certain situations as the system is not broken.