LONDON — Employer contributions to corporate pension plans by Britain's largest public companies jumped 76% to £11 billion ($20.3 billion) during financial year 2003 — and might jump higher next year.
"I would be surprised if next year contributions did not continue to increase," said Stephen Cooper, head of valuation and accounting research at investment bank UBS Ltd., London, which just surveyed pension contributions made by FTSE 100 companies.
By comparison, employer contributions to the 100 largest U.S. corporate plans increased 172% last year, to $51.5 billion (Pensions & Investments, July 12).
Many British companies — including GlaxoSmithKline, Marks & Spencer and BP — made cash contributions far in excess of their annual service, or benefits, cost, the report found. They did so to reduce their pension deficit, which would make them more attractive to investors.