UK- The number of employees belonging to occupational pension schemes in the UK is falling, according to the preliminary results of survey published by the Government Actuary’s Department (GAD).

Over 550 private sector schemes with combined assets of around £760bn (e1.2trn) were interviewed for the survey which showed the number of employees belonging to occupational pension schemes to be 5.7m at the end of 2000. The previous survey was carried out in 1995.

One possible explanation for the downward trend since the mid-1960s is the increasing number of organisations closing down their pension funds. A further suggestion would be an increase in the number of new firms not offering an occupational scheme.

Of the 5.7m members, around 4.6m were accruing benefits on a defined benefit basis, with 0.9m part of a defined contribution scheme. Average contributions rates for defined benefit schemes (employee and employer combined) were 16.1% of pensionable earnings compared to 8.5% for defined-contribution schemes.

The figure for average assets per member was around £45,000 with big and very small schemes having higher assets per member than medium-sized schemes. Average assets per scheme varied from just over £2.25bn for funds with more than 10,000 members to £0.5m for schemes with 11 of fewer members.

In terms of asset control, only around 25% of small schemes had qualified or trained trustees working for them. 75% of larger schemes had at least one trustee.

Complete results, including figures for public sector schemes will be published later in the year.