UK - Many defined contribution pension schemes are invested in structures that are geared toward retirement ages no longer suitable for today's workers, PwC has warned.

The accountancy firm said thousands of people could see the size of their pensions suffer by as much as 20% in some cases.

It pointed out that the "so-called" lifestyle investment structures, where savings in an employee's pension plan are initially invested in higher-volatility, return-seeking assets and then switched into cash and bonds in the five or 10 years before anticipated retirement.

Marc Hommel, pensions leader at PwC, said: "These 'lifestyle' investment structures are useful for those people who have predictable retirement horizons. But such structures will become less satisfactory as we see increasing diversity and unpredictability in retirement timings."

Hommel said employers and trustees needed to review the defined contribution default investment structures in their workplace pension schemes and consider whether modernising was necessary to take into account the increasingly varied and unpredictable retirement needs of employees.

Meanwhile, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has responded to comments by Pensions Minister Steve Webb on the use of enhanced transfer value (ETV) when employees shift from defined benefit to defined contribution pension schemes.

CBI director for employment policy Neil Carberry said: "The Pensions Regulator would be best bearing down on situations where it's clear that transfer offers are not in a pension holder's interests, or when either poor or no independent advice has been offered. Regulation of our pensions should be both proportionate and risk-based.

"But we must also be careful not to demonise the whole of this market. The deal many policyholders get from good ETV offers is often attractive. And we should not blame companies for managing their liabilities to ensure both a fair deal for pension scheme members and the growth we all want to see."

Finally, a research by YouGov for the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) has found that 3m people who are not retired are relying on winning the lottery to pay for their retirement.

According to the study, a similar number of people are accounting on an inheritance windfall.

In total, 49% of the people surveyed are planning to fund their retirement through a workplace or private pension, while 8% said it was relying on a lottery win to do so, and another 9% was banking on an inheritance windfall.

NAPF chief executive Joanne Segars said: "Many people take a portfolio approach to saving, so hopefully people aren't relying solely on a lottery win or the death of a relative to get them through retirement.

"But the fact remains that most people are not saving enough and are in for a deep shock come retirement."