Sponsor contribution levels for the FTSE 100 defined benefit (DB) schemes are the highest since 2009 according to an LCP survey.
In its 23rd annual report, the firm reveals the spiraling cost of DB provision means the gap between DB and defined contribution (DC) schemes continues to worsen.
The cost of meeting accrual in a typical 60ths final salary scheme has gone from 24% of salary in 2009 to 50% of salary in 2016.
Companies paid £6.0bn to fund DC benefits, compared to £5.3bn in 2014, but also paid £13.3bn into their DB schemes up from £12.6bn in 2014.
The survey notes this is despite the significant number of DB scheme closures and material reduction in the number of employees accruing pensions over this period.
In its 2015 accounts RBS announced it would accelerate the payment of its agreed deficit contributions and has since made a £4.2bn contribution to its main pension scheme.
According to LCP this is the largest ever contribution to a UK scheme, eclipsing by some way the £2bn paid by BT Group in 2012.
LCP's senior partner and report author Bob Scott (pictured above) said: "The increasing cost of DB pension provision has meant that more contributions went towards additional pension accrual than in any year since 2009."
He added: "Not only is this a drag on company performance and the wider UK economy, but the relatively small contributions going into DC may be storing up problems for the beneficiaries of those schemes when they come to retire."
The survey also found FTSE 100 companies paid around five times as much in dividends as they did in contributions to their DB schemes in 2016.
The total IAS19 pension deficit for the 56 FTSE 100 companies that disclosed a deficit at their 2015 year-end was £42.3bn.
Those same companies paid dividends totalling £53.0bn - some 25% higher than their combined pension deficit.
Controversy around how much sponsors pay to meet DB benefits as well as dividend pay outs to shareholders, are issues that have gripped the industry this year.
She raised concerns about how the mounting burden of DB liabilities could undermine the health of companies.
The case surrounding British Home Stores (BHS) has also provoked thinking about the tension between injecting cash into a company scheme and paying money to shareholders.
A third factor complication for DB schemes is low interest rates, which have fallen even further following the Bank of England cutting the base rate and extending its QE programme.
By 9 August, LCP estimates FTSE 100 companies had pension deficits totaling £63bn, up by almost 37% from £46bn at the end of July.
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