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Commitment to pensions remains strong

The rate of closure of defined-benefit (DB) pension schemes remains stable but further change is on the horizon, according to the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF).

Research from the NAPF shows 21% of employers intend to switch their DB schemes to a defined-contribution (DC) scheme in the future and 10% intend to reduce risks.

Only 28% of DB schemes are currently open to new members compared with 70% in 2002.

One in five employers (19%) say they will reduce their DB contributions or switch new employees to personal accounts in 2012 as a means of saving money.

DC schemes are looking more positive with an average contribution level of 11% - 7% of that from employers. These employer contributions are more than double the 3% the Government wants from them by 2012.

Joanne Segars, chief executive of the NAPF, said: "Despite market turmoil, employer commitment to pensions remains strong. Workplace pensions continue to provide a valuable source of income for millions of working people now and in the future.

"However, there is still much outside pressure on pension schemes. Government, regulators and standard-setters must take action to ensure the regulatory framework encourages good quality pension provision and continued employer commitment."