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Boost for pensions contributions

More FTSE-350 companies have made special contributions to UK and overseas
pension schemes in the past 12 months, on the back of intensified pressure from
trustee groups and regulatory obligations.

In its annual survey of pension financial risk, co-authored with the
Association
of Corporate Treasurers
,
Mercer
found that 66% of FTSE-250 companies made special contributions in 2008, up from
58% in 2007.

The report suggested that companies found making additional contributions
sent a message to trustees of greater corporate credit worthiness by directing
strong cash flow in this way. Risk mitigation and strengthened mortality
assumptions were also key drivers.

Fifty-three per cent of companies said pension regulation had “an adverse
impact on company activity” ­ but while 37% of companies strengthened their
mortality assumptions, the revised levels still fell short of the Pension
Regulator’s benchmarks.

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