UK - FTSE100 companies dramatically upped pension contributions last year to a record £17.5bn ($27.8bn), data from Lane Clark & Peacock reveals.
Figures from the consultant's 17th annual Accounting for Pensions report said the figure was up 50% on 2009.
The largest contribution was by Royal Dutch Shell at £3.3bn, up more than £2.5bn on contributions paid over the previous year. Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland and Unilever also paid more than £1bn into their defined benefit schemes.
Some eight companies paid more to their pension schemes than they did to their shareholders - these were BAE Systems, British Airways, Invensys, Lloyds Banking Group, Morrisons, Rolls-Royce, Serco and Wolseley.
The report also showed an increasing number of companies for giving schemes alternatives to cash funding - examples include Diageo using maturing whisky as collateral, and M&S, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Whitbread using property.
LCP partner Bob Scott (pictured) said: "In the wake of the financial crisis, pension scheme trustees have sought more money from their sponsoring companies to fund soaring pension deficits, leading to a record level of contributions last year.
"While this is reassuring for scheme members, such increases in contributions reduce the scope for companies to pay dividends and to invest in their businesses."
He added: "We have already seen a number of companies modifying their schemes to reduce ongoing pension costs - in some cases closing their schemes altogether - and this trend may be accelerated from 2012."
Potential changes to accounting standards and increased pressure on companies to accelerate contributions could worsen FTSE 100 scheme funding by up to £100bn, according to Lane Clark and Peacock (LCP).
Smart Pension has taken on over 20,000 active members from the £20m Corpad Master Trust, following a strategic review by the ceding firm's trustees.
The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) allegedly obstructed a whistleblower as she tried to discover the true value of the deficit in its defined benefit (DB) section, according to reports.
The Cost Transparency Initiative (CTI) has launched a number of templates and guidance to help pension schemes deliver greater value for savers with enhanced disclosure of transaction cost information.