UK - PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has announced the closure of its two defined benefit (DB) schemes, which have a combined deficit of £164m.

The decision to close the schemes to new accruals will take effect as of 5 April 2011, while the firm's defined contribution scheme will remain open.

Employees affected by the closure of the £873m PwC Pension Fund (PwC PF) and the DH&S Retirement and Death Benefits Plan (DH&S Plan), which holds assets worth £493m, will begin a consultation with PwC shortly.

The decision comes as accounts published show expected further losses for both schemes to be £30m this year, with the current service cost and the outstanding interest on scheme obligations outstripping the returns expected on scheme assets.

The company said: "Total cash contributions to the schemes during the year ended 30 June 2010 were £69m, including £50m of additional contributions.

"The group expects to pay contributions next year of £51m, including additional contributions of £32m."

Aon Consulting acted as actuaries for PwC PF, while Mercer held the same role for the DH&S Plan.

Research previously published by the consultancy showed that just 6% of companies planned to leave their DB schemes open in future, with many companies instead relying on DC schemes ahead of the introduction of auto-enrolment.

Meanwhile, the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) has signed a deal to become a member of Club Vita, a UK-based provider of longevity services to occupational pension schemes.

The PPF - as part of its recently unveiled funding strategy - is aiming to fund a margin to cover longevity risks.

Club Vita, which has worked with more than 100 of the largest pension schemes in the UK, said its analysis would help future assessments of the size and changing nature of this risk.
Martin Clarke, executive director for financial risk at the PPF, said: "Longevity risk is a significant challenge for the PPF.

"Accurate measurement of this risk is paramount to an effective control environment.

"The annual monitoring Club Vita provides - covering both our members' experience and that of Club Vita's wider subscriber base - will therefore form an important part of the toolkit we use to monitor longevity risks."