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."
Standard Life has increased exposure to risk assets in three out of five funds in its Active Plus and Passive Plus workplace pension ranges.
Some 48% of employers are unaware of the services or help they offer to members of their defined contribution (DC) schemes, according to Aon.
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