The number of pension funds declined in several European countries over a 10-year period through 2015, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The OECD's Pension Markets in Focus report cited major decreases in the number of pension plans in Denmark (-60%), the Netherlands (-60%), U.K. (-52.3%), Switzerland (-32.6%), Norway (-26.9%) and Germany (-3.9%).
By comparison, in other OECD countries with prominent pension markets, such as Australia or Canada, the number of plans increased by half and doubled, respectively, in the same period.
The reductions in Europe resulted from mergers, closures or difficulty in delivering the terms of contracts or meeting funding requirements of DB plans, the report said.
Investments that were made through all retirement vehicles in financial markets reached $36.9 trillion in the 35 member countries in 2015.
The OECD also conducted for the same report a study on a sample of 20 countries, including Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S., over the same period that showed that in countries with relatively fewer pension funds, those pension funds were more likely to have experienced higher real net returns than funds in countries with more pension funds.
“Over the period, sample countries with 30 to 149 pension funds were likely to experience higher net returns than countries with more pension funds,” the report said.