IRELAND - Over 40% of defined benefit schemes' sponsors indicated they are considering reducing member benefits in a bid to shore up funding deficits, a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) revealed.
On the defined contribution side, nearly 10% of employers said they had either decreased or planned to decrease the contributions they were paying.
The survey also suggested contributors to these schemes are changing their pension savings behaviour, whether by reducing their personal contributions or by reducing their exposure to higher risk assets.
PwC Pension Solutions Group partner Alan Bigley said: "There is a real sense of change coming through. Significant shortfalls have emerged in DB schemes.
"Employers are looking to explore the limits of what is permitted, to defer or minimise increases in cash contributions and to identify non-cash alternatives that may be more acceptable to their business as the current challenging economic conditions continue."
In addition, over 70% of employers are actively considering reducing the investment risks for both DB and DC plans, including reducing their reliance on equity markets.
Data by PwC show the average Irish managed pension fund fell 35% in 2008 and were heavily impacted by losses on equities.
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.