Respondents say dividend clearance regime for firms with pension deficits is a bad idea.
This week a total of 137 scheme managers, trustees, actuaries and consultants responded to the confidence tracker and the survey.
Just over 50% of respondents said employers with a pension deficit should not have to seek clearance from The Pensions Regulator (TPR) before paying out dividends or bonuses.
This idea has been mooted following the high-profile collapse of Carillion, whose pension funds are likely to fall into the Pension Protection Fund.
Many respondents said it would be impractical and unrealistic, and would have a detrimental impact on UK businesses. One said dividends and bonuses are "a matter for shareholders" and have "nothing to do with TPR".
Others pointed out that pension deficits are difficult to define, but some did say directors should be required to consider the deficit before paying dividends.
Almost 40% agreed with the idea with one saying "dividends and bonuses paid by Carillion in the recent year are a scandal."
However, some said it should only be for companies or deficits above a certain size.
One said: "If the dividend is more than twice the annual contributions to deficit reduction and the deficit will not be cleared in five years."
Nearly half said extra regulatory powers would not have made much difference in the case of Carillion.
Respondents said further powers would put more short-term strain on companies, and some said the regulator already has sufficient tools.
One said: "We have to do something to support UK plcs, not keep pushing them out of business and dumping the pensioners. This just saves up the problem for the future when those decision-makers are not here to be accountable for their actions and pensions are no more because all trust has gone!"
Another suspected the scheme would have ended up in the PPF whatever had happened.
However, 18% of respondents said stronger or new powers would have made a difference. Despite this, many called on the regulator to use its existing powers more, such as requiring earlier and large deficit reduction contributions.
One said the watchdog should use its powers "more effectively before acquiring more and then not using them," and added: Companies will only take notice if they believe there is a real prospect of intervention before the situation becomes critical."
A third of respondents were undecided.
Auto-enrolment (AE) was chosen by more than a quarter of respondents as the top priority for the new secretary of state for work and pensions.
Some pointed out contribution levels require urgent focus to ensure people save enough to generate decent retirement incomes.
"AE affects future pension savings and habits for the majority of the working population. We can't afford to get this wrong," said one.
Just over 20% called on Esther McVey to focus on sustainability of defined benefit (DB) schemes. One said it is her department's "last chance to get this right", and that the forthcoming white paper and follow up is "crucial".
The pensions dashboard, regulator's powers and cold-calling ban were voted top priorities by 10% of respondents each.
One who voted for regulatory powers said: "AE needs dramatic reform but at least it's doing something. The pensions dashboard is the biggest white elephant ever. Perhaps if the regulator had stronger powers they'd be able to deal with the other two items."
The 22% who believed she should focus on something else suggested issues such as financial education for the young, collective defined contribution, and ensuring adequate pensions.
Employers, the government and providers are collectively responsible for informing workers about the forthcoming increase in minimum auto-enrolment (AE) contributions, according to more than half of respondents.
Many said there needs to be a joined-up approach by all three, with one saying if all came out with the same message, "chances are the members might believe it and put more into their funds."
Another suggested: "In the same way that the government did a really good communication job when AE was introduced, the increase in contributions should initially be rolled out by the government, then the employer in conjunction with the provider's communications team."
However, 38% of people said it is primarily the responsibility of employers due to their close relationship with their workers and because AE contributions are a deduction from payroll.
One said: "It is a deduction from payroll - hence an employer issue. The increases work differently for different schemes and so a general government communication trying to explain it would just be confusing for members."
The largest proportion of respondents (47%) said they believe the bull market will lose momentum in 2018.
One said a correction is already overdue while another pointed out investment managers are saying the market is 15% overpriced.
Even so, some respondents were still uncertain it will happen this year with one saying: "My guess is that the bull market will trickle along for the rest of the year without stellar returns, but no major upsets, until the next geo-political event causes panic."
Just 17% disagreed the equity market will run out of steam, while more than a third sat on the fence.
Those who said no thought the bull market would end soon but not yet.
One said: "It may slow, but it has been a trend for a number of years now. I do look upon it with cautious optimism though!"
A respondent who was undecided said schemes need to prepare ahead:
"It is a case of be prepared, make sure you don't become a forced seller, therefore have a very good cashflow forecast and liquidity management in place. Then it's a case of watch and learn and ride out the storms ahead which may become a good investment opportunity."
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