New research in the UK has confirmed that the number of final salary pension schemes closing their doors to new members is set to continue increasing.

The research by Aon Consulting found that only 27% of defined benefit pension schemes are now open to new starters, as against 60% three years ago.

More worryingly still, Aon’s research indicates that by 2009 nearly a third of all defined benefit schemes will be shut to all members if current trends continue.

The news deepens the gloom surrounding the UK company pensions industry following a spate of high profile final salary cutbacks. The government hopes its much-heralded suite of pension reforms, which will include the auto-enrolment national pensions savings scheme, will help alleviate the looming savings gap, however the reforms are still some years away from implementation.