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The PPI is an INDEPENDENT educational, not-for profit research institute. We undertake rigorous research from a neutral, long-term perspective

Reports and Briefing Notes

The changing landscape for private sector Defined Benefit pension schemes

Occupational pension provision in the private sector, and in particular Defined Benefit (DB) provision, has been declining. Both the number of private sector employers offering these schemes and the number of employees covered by such provision are falling. At the same time the number of Defined Contribution (DC), or money-purchase, pension schemes has been increasing.

In this report, we bring together published administrative and survey data to provide a comprehensive evaluation of what the DB landscape in the private sector looks like today and how it got there. By assessing trends and their key drivers, together with a range of government and scheme sponsor responses, this report aims to offer an evidence base on which to consider the future of DB schemes in the private sector.


Chapter one describes current DB provision in the private sector, using scheme survey data to assess its size and composition. It also describes recent trends to show how provision has changed over the last few years. 

Chapter two looks at what has been influencing the behaviour of scheme sponsors, and considers various factors that have affected the costs and risks of running a DB scheme.

Chapter three focuses on how DB scheme sponsors have been changing provision in recent years, providing examples to illustrate some of the issues raised.

Chapter four presents the views of three external commentators on the future of DB provision. These pension experts provide a range of views on the issue.



Executive Summary

Executive Summary

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