Most people have a defined contribution (also known as money purchase) pension scheme where the saver will contribute to a pot of money that will be used to provide an income in retirement. However, there are other schemes which can be referred to as defined benefit or final salary schemes.
This form of scheme is almost always an occupational pension scheme, funded through employer and employee contributions. However the pension saver does not have their own, allocated account.
Rather, there is a formula which states what their pension is likely to be on retirement, normally linked to a percentage of the last salary they’ll earn, combined with how long they’ve worked for their company. Traditionally, these schemes were seen as very safe.
But new research suggests that one such final salary scheme, that of FTSE 100 retailer J Sainsbury, may be dangerously underfunded to the point where it may harm the supermarket’s long term performance in Britain’s grocery price war.