UK - Chancellor Gordon Brown came out fighting in a debate over his handling of occupational pensions yesterday.

He survived a vote of confidence tabled by the opposition Conservatives and rounded on his critics, saying pension assets have doubled over the decade he has overseen the economy.

"In 1996, the assets of pension funds were £549bn (€810bn at current rates)," Brown told MPs. "By 1999, they were £820bn. By 2006, even after the stock market crash, the assets of pension funds were more than a trillion pounds.

"In other words, the assets of pension funds have doubled during the period of this Labour government."

And he said the total income of pension funds has risen to £71.3bn last year from £34.4bn a decade before.

He added: "Pension assets rose from 1996 to 1999—they did not fall. Pension income rose, not fell, from 1996 to 1999. Pension dividends rose between 1996 and 1999—they did not fall.

"We made the right decision for the British economy—the right decision for investment, the long-term stability and growth of the British economy and British industry."

Meanwhile, pension consulting firm Barnett Waddingham has taken on the pension actuarial and consultancy business of pay consulting firm New Bridge Street Consultants. The team under Rod Marshall will transfer as of May 1.

Elsewhere in the UK, it's emerged that the Aberdeen City Council Pension Fund and the London Borough of Lewisham Pension Fund have joined the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum, according to an LAPFF newsletter.

And Aberdeen's long-serving principal pensions officer Finlay Souter has retired.