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Archived Annuities News / Income Drawdown News

What's happening in the world of pensions

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Royal Opera House contemplating closure of final salary pension scheme

The Royal Opera House has begun a consultation on whether its defined benefit scheme should be closed to further additions.

A spokesman for the opera house said that the requirement for staff to be automatically enrolled into a workplace pension from next September will put “heightened the pressure” on its final salary scheme, thereby prompting a consultation on whether the final salary scheme can be maintained.

Experts have argued that the financial pressures of auto-enrolment may lead employers to offset this cost by closing current schemes that may offer a greater range of benefits.

Ros Altmann, the director-general of Saga, said: “The Royal Opera House is a big example of auto-enrolment causing levelling down of pension contributions. It won't be the last.”

The Royal Opera House employs 900 staff, with around 400 staff thought not to currently be a member its pension schemes.

Automatic enrolment was recently praised by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) as the start of a "pensions new deal".

Under the scheme staff will start by making a minimum contribution of just 0.8% of their pensionable earnings, while employers will have to pay in 1% of their employees' pensionable earnings.

Funds will be further boosted by tax relief contributing an additional 0.2%. These contributions will rise to 4%, 3% and 1% respectively.

This would mean that when the 8% full contribution rate is reached an employee on £20,000 a year would see their pension pot boosted by an annual figure of £1,154.88 in combined contributions.

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