Active DC membership exceeds DB for the first time

Active DC membership exceeds DB for the first time

Automatic enrolment has led to active defined contribution memberships exceeding defined benefit memberships for the first time, according to The Pensions Regulator’s latest figures.

Its sixth annual DC scheme statistics report, based on data covering around 40,000 private pension schemes as of 31 December 2014, found that active membership increased by 140 per cent from 1.3m to over 3m.

The latest Pension Protection Fund Purple Book statistics showed that active DB memberships fell to 1.8m in 2014, down by 6.5 per cent from the 2013 figure.

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Andrew Warwick-Thompson, the regulator’s executive director for DC and public service pension schemes, said: “This latest data snapshot clearly shows the impact automatic enrolment has had on the DC landscape.

“Although more assets are still held in DB schemes, for the first time there are now more active members in DC schemes.

“We also see from these latest statistics that the number of micro DC schemes continues to reduce.

“We are encouraged to see a further reduction in unsustainable, poor value schemes, with movements of memberships and assets to larger multi-employer schemes that are able to offer better governance and value for members, such as master trusts.”

The total number of DC memberships of occupational schemes with 12 or more members increased by 80 per cent - from 2.5m to over 4.5m - while micro schemes with two to 11 members reduced by around 3 per cent - from 35,600 to 34,400 while membership dropped from 102,000 to 99,000.

There are 300 DC trust schemes being used for automatic enrolment.

Of the 70 master trusts, 20 are used for automatic enrolment and collectively hold more than 2m members.

DC also schemes received net transfers of £398m - transfers in £591m, transfers out £193m - with 60 per cent (£365m) of transfers in were to schemes with 5,000 or more members.