UK - The value of UK pension funds have risen to just over £800bn (€1.18bn) according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

"The value of self-administered pension funds total assets fell from £821bn in 1999 to £620bn in 2002, but recovered to £801bn in 2004," the ONS said in its latest Pensions Trends release.

It added: "Pension fund holdings of UK equities fell from 61% of corporate securities in 1999 to 35% in 2004, with offsetting rises in the share of mutual funds, UK corporate bonds, and overseas securities."

The total income of self-administered pension funds rose to £58.5bn in 2005, while total expenditure was £42.4bn.

Total payments by funds to members have increased from £6.5bn in 1984 to £36.9bn in 2005 and employee contributions have risen from £3.8bn in 1998 to £5.8bn in 2005. Total employer contributions rose more rapidly, from £7.6bn to £31.2bn over the same period.

The ONS noted that the number of people in private pension schemes had fallen to 39% of the working age population were members from 40%.

It added: "Between 1997 and 2005, employee membership of defined benefit pension schemes fell from 46% to 35%, while membership of defined contribution schemes increased from 10% to 15%."