UK - The consulting actuary Watson Wyatt has said today it plans switch its £200m (€288.3m) defined benefit (DB) pension arrangement to a career average scheme from early next year.

The change will affect around 700 members, a spokesman for the company told IPE.

"The main reason for our decision was to make the DB section of our pension scheme more affordable to maintain on an ongoing basis," he added.

Babloo Ramamurthy, regional manager for Watson Wyatt in Europe, added in a statement: "With the proposed changes we are also able to achieve a better balance in the value of the benefits being offered to all our associates."

Watson Wyatt closed its final salary scheme five years ago to new members. Since then, new joiners to the firm have been offered access to a money purchase arrangement.

"All the benefits accrued before the career average basis comes into play, which will hopefully be at the beginning of next year, will be on the final salary basis. Then for everyone in the scheme, benefits accrued after that will be on a career average basis," the spokesman added.

Aside from the move, the company additionally plans to raise the normal retirement age for future service benefits from 60 to 65. This change should also be effective from the new year and is intended to apply to all members.

The company said its proposals are currently subject to consultation with members.