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Credit crunch slashes 25% off DC pension assets

Britain’s defined contribution pension assets have lost 25 per cent of their value – £140bn – since the start of the credit crunch, according to Aon Consulting.

The firm’s new research tool, the Aon DC Pension Tracker, shows that the value of DC pension assets stood at £550bn in the beginning of the crisis in September 2007. But 16 months on, at the end of January 2009, the value had been slashed to £410bn.

The DC pension tracker aims to provide a realistic gauge of how the nation’s DC pension account, into which over 3.7 million UK workers pay every month, is faring. It tracks the change in size of the British DC pension market and calculates the expected pension income at retirement for people of different ages.

The tool shows that a 60-year-old who is contributing 10 per cent of their £25,000 salary and expecting to retire in five years time has seen their total projected pension fall by 36 per cent, meaning they can now expect to receive £10,900 annually for the rest of their life compared to the £17,100 forecast in September 2007.

The impact on much younger workers is not so severe, according to Aon. A 30-year-old employee over the same period has seen their projected pension fall 8.5 per cent, as the effect of the current economic crisis is tempered by future contributions and the length of time until retirement.

Principal Helen Dowsey says: “Over the last year, DC pension scheme savers have been hit hard by the falls in equity markets and people need to take an active role in reviewing their pensions. We urge both employers and employees to maintain the long-term view that pensions are the best way to save for retirement.”

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