US - A Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found most schemes have made large changes to their plan design over the past ten years.
It said the majority of this decline was among smaller plans and sponsors - although said there was "widespread concern" large DB plans with many participants had been "modified, reduced, or otherwise frozen" in recent years.
It found most schemes had changed benefit formulas, converted to 'hybrid' DB / DC plans or frozen plans to future members and / or accrual.
The survey showed 81% of plans had modified the formula for calculating benefits, while 28% of schemes had frozen or limited some or all future pension accruals.
Most sponsors, some 90%, also had 401(k) defined contribution (DC) schemes, the majority of which (67%) said they had, or were planning to implement automatic enrolment.
The GAO surveyed 44 of the country's largest DB plans, representing about a quarter of the total liabilities in the nation's single-employer DB plan system as of 2004, although the survey was completed before the worst of the financial problems hit in late 2008.
At the time, most sponsors said they had no plans to revise plan formulas, freeze or terminate plans, or convert to hybrid plans before 2012, although the GAO said the current market turmoil seemed likely to alter this trend.
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