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Active DC member numbers pass DB for the first time

Auto-enrolment has pushed the number of active members of defined contribution schemes passed active defined benefit membership for the first time, The Pensions Regulator’s latest figures show.

While DB schemes have continued to close to new members and future accrual, more employers have hit their auto-enrolment staging dates bringing millions of new savers into pensions for the first time.

According to TPR’s annual report on DC occupational schemes, there was a 140 per cent increase in active membership over the year, up to over three million, while active members of DB plans at just 1.3 million.

However, the true figure for DC membership will be even higher as the regulator’s figures only take into account trust-based schemes, and not members of contract-based plans.

In addition, DC scheme assets increased by 11 per cent, to £29bn up from £26bn last year.

Executive director for DC and public service pension schemes Andrew Warwick-Thompson says: “This latest data snapshot clearly shows the impact automatic enrolment has had on the DC landscape. Although more assets are still held in DB schemes, for the first time there are now more active members in DC schemes.”

“We also see from these latest statistics that the number of micro DC schemes continues to reduce. We are encouraged to see a further reduction in unsustainable, poor value schemes, with movements of memberships and assets to larger multi-employer schemes that are able to offer better governance and value for members, such as master trusts.”

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