UK - Insurance and employee benefits firm Jardine Lloyd Thompson has closed its own defined benefits pension scheme.

It also announced a tie-up with new DB buyout firm Paternoster.

"We announced today that we are entering a period of consultation with our staff over the proposed closure of our Defined Benefit (DB) pension scheme in the UK to all future accruals from December 1 2006," JLT said.

DB scheme members would be offered a defined contribution scheme instead.

"The financial impact will be to reduce pension liabilities by an amount yet to be finalised although the number is expected to be reasonably material," it said.

The firm would make an initial cash contribution of £35m to the DB scheme, with additional contributions totalling £30m by 2009.

"These changes will enable us to better manage the long-term growth and development of the group."

Coincidentally, JLT also announced that it has signed a letter of intent with Paternoster to act as "service partner". The appointment followed a market review by Paternoster.

JLT will provide actuarial pricing support as well as long-term policy administration. The two companies would also "work together to offer competitive pension scheme administration and wind up services to the DB market". Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Meanwhile, retailer Debenhams is expected to closing its fully funded £500m final salary scheme in November. The move would aim to protect the sponsor from volatile returns, reports stated.

Elsewhere in the UK, the Department for Work and Pensions published research showing "strong support" for automatic enrolment into pensions from all types of employers.

Firms also supported the idea of a portable pension account which employees would take with them when they changed jobs, the DWP said.