The survey shows 87 per cent of defined benefit schemes in the sector are closed to new entrants, representing nine out of 10 schemes. One in five, 18 per cent, are now closed to future accrual.
Results show that nearly a quarter of the 309 firms surveyed, 24 per cent, are considering levelling down their pension benefit when auto-enrolment comes into force.
Fifteen per cent are considering closing their scheme altogether, including 41 per cent of smaller employers. Only 32 per cent of employers have budgeted for the costs of auto-enrolment.
The ACA says concerns over the affordability of auto-enrolment are a genuine threat to existing schemes of all types, with 59 per cent of employers set to review arrangements ahead of 2012.
Just 6 per cent of respondents say the Government’s stated policy of supporting quality pensions is working, down from 38 per cent two years ago. At the time of the survey, June to July last year, 91 per cent of schemes were in deficit.
ACA chairman Keith Barton says: “These are worrying times for all those looking to retire in the years ahead.
“Public policy seems to be locked into justifying ever heavier regulation and cost under the banner of protecting accrued benefits for generally older employees, but with scant regard for the future pension security of millions of younger private sector employees. There needs to be a more balanced approach where the rising numbers of under-pensioned in the private sector get a better deal with employers’ costs capped and with proportionate protection across all age groups.”