The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) has raised concern that low interest rates could persist into the future despite expectations of a reversal to historic norms.
Speaking at Pensions and Benefits UK on 1 July, chief executive officer (CEO) Alan Rubenstein highlighted figures which showed the average recovery period for schemes in deficit was now 8.5 years.
He added that the number of defined benefit (DB) schemes that have extended their recovery periods beyond ten years had risen from about 20% in 2005 to 30% today.
The CEO pointed to record results from the 7800 Index published in January showing the aggregate deficit on an s179 basis was £367.5bn.
Although the deficit has decreased to around £240bn, Rubenstein said this was still similar to the GDP of countries like Norway and Austria.
According to the head of the lifeboat fund, funding levels remained stable at 84.1% in June compared to just under 78% at the start of the year.
Rubenstein said: "People say to me ‘obviously rates are very low at the moment, obviously we should get back to normality, obviously we shouldn't be worrying about this'. And that is a point of view.
"But my question is always, what if this is actually the new normal that we're living in? What if rates are going to be lower for longer? If that's the case, I'm afraid to say we have a problem because some things really have not been going in the right direction."
The PPF celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, with over £10bn transferred in from failed schemes and almost £2bn recovered over that period.
Around 200,000 scheme members have fallen into the fund in the last decade, with about half currently receiving benefits.
Defined benefit (DB) schemes that provide GMPs must revisit and, where necessary, top-up historic cash equivalent transfer values (CETVs) that have been calculated on an unequal basis, a landmark court judgment said last week.
Regulators must act now to impose some "proper regulation" to stop another defined benefit (DB) transfer advice disaster, saysTim Sargisson.
Opportunities for defined benefit (DB) schemes to pursue investment approaches that help repair the UK’s economy cannot stand in the way of improving member outcomes, Aegon says.
More members transferred out of defined benefit (DB) pension schemes in October after September's record lows while values were surprisingly stable, according to XPS Pensions Group's Transfer Watch.
Joanna Smith says trustees will need to accurately identify if covenant issues are short-term affordability concerns, or the start of more material deterioration.