UK - The gap between directors and their workers' pensions benefits may be closing, according to research by Xafinity Consulting.
Robert Birmingham, managing director, Xafinity, commented it was not surprising senior staff were treated more generously in terms of retirement provision: "More unexpected is that our results show that the majority of senior executives are not now singled out for special treatment."
Birmingham added this shift to a more equal system had only happened recently. He said: "It may be a consequence of the increased costs of providing defined benefits (due to improved longevity and lower investment returns); greater realisation of the true costs of such benefits; and changes in legislation such as the 2006 pensions tax regime."
The Executive Retirement Benefit Research also showed most companies kept the earnings cap on their pension schemes, despite legislation allowing them to remove it.
Xafinity stated this could have been due to executives' high salaries pushing up DB contribution levels and costing the company excessively.
Executives were revealed to still receive higher contribution levels to their pension schemes than their lower ranking colleagues, but the divide was not as great as previously shown.
In general the survey showed a convergence in contribution levels. However, Xafinity stated: "We would anticipate that higher executive contribution rates may arise in future as more and more executives have DB promises replaced by defined contributions."
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.