UK - Three quarters of defined benefit pension plans are now more likely to halt future accrual than they were 12 months ago, the Hewitt Global Pension Risk Survey 2009 revealed.
The survey of more than 400 schemes worldwide - with data from 114 UK funds - also found a quarter of schemes had or were considering taking action under three or more headings for benefit changes - such as revised designs, caps on pensionable salary and enhanced transfers.
And 60% of respondents are now more likely to consider hedging increased life expectancy risk through longevity swaps - but two thirds also continued to run market risks elsewhere.
Hewitt also revealed interest in the fiduciary management had increased three fold since last year.
The consultant said the UK findings "revealed a surge in action - actual or expected" when compared to last year's results.
It said the results showed sponsors are now much more prepared or willing to take active steps to reduce their overall pension risk.
Hewitt UK global risk services head Kevin Wesbroom said sponsors and trustees "face a ‘war on two fronts' from the themes that have emerged in the past 18 months - velocity and volume".
He explained: "The sheer pace of change has been overwhelming - with markets moving at unprecedented rates for both assets and liabilities and on a daily basis at levels which historically were seen on a weekly or monthly basis.
"Aside from sudden and extreme movements in investment markets, trustees and sponsors have had to cope with an overwhelming volume of ideas and initiatives.
"It is clear that employers are now much more prepared to look at all types of benefit changes - not just pay caps for active members, but also enhanced transfers for deferred members and pension increase conversion exercises for pensioners.
"All of these take time and energy to work though."
Wesbroom said the industry was witnessing a "sea change in the willingness to consider many more options to tame pension plan risks".
"These will include changes with a direct impact on members' benefits and, on the eve of a new decade, the UK's private sector defined benefit pension provision looks set to enter another phase of changes, leading to the ultimate end game," he added.
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