IRELAND - Some 70% of defined benefit plans could be closed to new members in the near future, double the amount two years ago, a report by the Irish Association of Pension Funds (IAPF) found.
"Many pension funds are on their knees and some are struggling for survival. The reality for pension provision is that companies and schemes are closing, many in deficit with severe consequences for the members," IAPF director of policy Jerry Moriarty said.
The IAPF found that 35% of schemes had closed to new members over the past two years, 18% within the past two years and another 17% plan to do so soon.
The association said the government should create a temporary "Commission on Retirement" to tackle the issue of pension instability.
The Commission could put together the "plethora of reports" on pensions, examine them and create comprehensive recommendations on how to deal with retirement issues like health, long-term care and lifestyle, said Moriarty.
Moriarty said it would create a way to move the pension debate forward.
He said: "It's looking at what our expectations for retirement should be."
He also said a Commission could lead politicians to look at the longer term consequences of cutting pension benefits.
Pension costs have hit the national stage in Ireland.
Last month, the Irish prime minister Brian Cowen said budget cuts in December will be "across the board" and could affect public pensions. Ireland is currently dealing with a gap in public finances of €20bn (US$29.5bn).
Moriarty said: "The government obviously has a very immediate and short term need for cash." But, he said, some of the decisions taken to alleviate today's needs, could have longer-term consequences.
The Brunel Pension Partnership has become the fourth local authority pool to receive the green light from the regulator.
Defined benefit (DB) schemes are to be offered a new consolidator as the former chief of the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) launches 'The Pension SuperFund'.
Martin Freeman has been hired as head of technology product and development at Smart Pension, to support the 'growing' technology product side of the business.
Tim Sharp says the government has missed some big opportunities to help workers in the DB white paper.