The National Association of Pension Funds has warned that the closure of public sector pension schemes accelerated in 2012.
In its survey of just over 1,000 private sector schemes, the association found that only 13 per cent were still open to new joiners compared with 19 per cent in 2011, and that 31 per cent were now also closed to existing staff, compared with 23 per cent the year before.
The association concludes that new staff in the private sector have “next to no chance” of joining a final salary scheme, with hardly any of the FTSE 100 firms offering schemes to new entrants. It blames the increase in scheme closures on quantitative easing and the consequent low gilt yields, pushing many into large deficits and higher liabilities.
The Bank of England has bought up one-third of government bonds as a way of injecting cheap money into the banking system. This has raised the price of the bonds and therefore reduced the return they provide. In 2012 staff at Unilever went on strike over the closure of their final salary scheme. ■