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Defined contribution scheme members outnumber defined benefit for the first time

The number of members of defined contribution pension schemes has overtaken defined benefit scheme members for the first time. This is according to a new report by The Pensions Regulator.

The Pensions Regulator (TPR)’s annual DC Trust report illustrates the impact of automatic enrolment with defined contribution (DC) schemes becoming the dominant form of pensions provision. There are now around 14.8 million memberships in DC schemes compared with 11.7 million in defined benefit (DB) arrangements.

Andrew Warwick-Thompson, Executive Director for Regulatory Policy, said: “We have now passed a significant point in UK private sector pensions provision with 55% of all private sector pension scheme members and 85% of active members being participants in DC schemes.

There are now 34,500 DC schemes, a fall of only 2% on last year. Most of these, 32,000 schemes, are ‘micro schemes’ with between 2 and 11 members, and of these around 23,000 are ‘relevant small schemes’ (commonly called SSAS). Relevant small schemes (SSAS) are subject to minimal legislative duties, compared to those applicable to larger schemes. Of most concern to TPR is that of the 750 DC schemes being used for the purposes of AE, 360 fall into this ‘micro scheme’ categ