UK - The record funding surplus of the 200 largest company pension schemes cannot prevent a bleak future, according to Aon Consulting.
Marcus Hurd, senior consultant, Aon, said the change in fortune was positive for pension funds: "However, the double whammy of ASB proposals and the regulator's proposed mortality assumptions throw the future of final salary schemes into further doubt."
He said these proposals made the prospect of closing final salary pension schemes more likely and increased the chances a company would look to a buyout option, especially as the price of this was falling.
Hurd concluded: "The current pensions environment punishes companies for demonstrating paternalism to their employees. The future of the UK pensions industry would be best served by encouragement rather than regulation or interference."
The National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) issued a survey showing 75% of workers in the UK felt it was important a pension came with their job, with almost half admitting they would feel more loyalty to an employer offering these benefits.
However, only 48% had confidence in pensions compared to other types of retirement savings.
Joanne Segars, chief executive, NAPF, commented: "The gap between the importance people attach to a workplace pension is at odds with their confidence, so it is clearly imperative that both the government and the industry work harder to restore a positive image."
The Next Generation Pensions Committee is on a mission to promote and encourage younger voices in the industry. Kim Kaveh looks at its key objectives
This week's top stories included an analysis finding the cost of equalising guaranteed minimum pensions in schemes could hit FTSE 100 profits by up to £15bn.
Employers whose dividend to deficit recovery contribution (DRCs) ratios fall outside the "normal range" should expect to see higher regulatory scrutiny, although no fixed ratio will be set.
Investment consultants and fiduciary managers should expect a final decision on the investigation into the market to be published by the end of the year, the competition watchdog says.