Companies look to tackle pensions next year, says Deloitte

Firms are set to use 2008 to solve their pension problems, according to Deloitte. The financial services company voiced the prediction as it revealed that the final salary pension schemes offered by Britain’s largest 100 companies will have an aggregate surplus of £15 billion at the end of 2007. Over the year, the surplus will have improved by more than £55 billion, according to Deloitte, reflecting both positive investment returns and falls in the prices of government bonds following the subprime mortgage panic. “Over 2008 companies will be looking to solve their pension problems for good,” commented David Robbins, a pensions partner at Deloitte. Critics of the assessment point out the role the credit crunch has played in the improvement, claiming that the core strength of the UK’s final salary pension schemes remains in doubt. In related news, talks are scheduled later today between BAA and air transport workers unions aimed at avoiding strikes over the company’s closure of its final salary pension scheme to new employees.