Firms look to tweak pensions

An increasing number of companies may choose to cut pension benefits offered to staff rather than close final-salary plans, industry consultants said following cost-cutting moves by several firms in recent weeks.

Hundreds of companies have shut retirement plans to new staff that base benefits on the salary a person earns in the final year of employment. They say an ageing population and low real bond yields make the plans too expensive to run.

Some have gone even further and moved existing members of final-salary plans to schemes in which payments vary depending on market returns.

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