UK - Almost three-quarters of schemes are committed to long-term de-risking strategies but the majority still plan to demand extra employer contributions, an Aon Hewitt poll reveals.
The consultant's Global Pension Risk Survey 2011 - which polled more than 200 UK schemes - found 69% of respondents said their longer term objective is to take less, or no risk in the future.
It found almost 80% of schemes are also seeking additional company contributions in the next two years - despite having the long-term objective of being self-sufficient.
Nearly two-thirds of respondents, as opposed to just one third in 2008, cited a timeframe of more than ten years as the appropriate time horizon to deliver the scheme's long term strategy.
Aon Hewitt UK lead, global risk services Kevin Wesbroom said: "Pension schemes have been through some wild gyrations from deficit to surplus over the past 20 years. There is a sense from the 2011 survey results that we are now entering an era when schemes will be focused on slowly taking risk off the table.
"There is no silver bullet to de-risk a pension scheme - it is going to be a hard grind and not the sprint to the finishing line that many might have hoped for."
Wesbroom said the difficulty is compounded by the fact that unless deficits are repaired by large additional contributions, many schemes still need to continue taking on risk in order to reduce it in the future.
The survey also confirmed 90% of DB schemes are now closed to new members, or soon will be and the number of plans closed to future accrual has increased, up from 12% in 2008 to 29% in 2011.
The poll also found one in five schemes had also carried out an enhanced transfer value exercise, or were very likely to.
Aon Hewitt UK benefits lead, global risk services Paul McGlone said: "We are now seeing a separation between large and small schemes. Larger schemes have a bigger resource base to consider some of the more innovative options, such as contingent funding approaches and longevity swaps.
"However, we can be sure that smaller schemes will not be far behind as these ideas develop and become more accessible."
He said smaller schemes were already more likely to carried out an ETV exercise and were also more open to closing to future accrual.
Some 45% of schemes with assets of less than £100m ($159bn) have frozen their plans to existing members, compared with 14% of plans sized over £1bn.
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