The Pensions Management Institute and Imperial College London have unveiled plans to work together to explore the longer-term options for retirement provision in the UK.
Agreement in principle has been reached on a Memorandum of Understanding for the two bodies to work together at what they today described as 'a time of significant change and development for UK pensions'.
In particular, the professional body and college highlighted this year's introduction of auto-enrolment onto pension schemes, the increasing longevity of the UK population and the increased pension deficit of private sector final salary schemes as key issues facing the sector.
A trend towards closing final salary pension schemes and companies switching to potentially cheaper money purchase alternatives is also being seen, they added.
Vince Linnane, chief executive of the PMI, said the professional body has been considering bringing an academic partner for some time.
He explained that, while the PMI had over 40 years' of experience of managing and advising pension schemes, the 'seismic changes' facing the industry meant it was right to consider working with an institution to help promote 'even higher standards of excellence in retirement provision'.
'The future of providing an adequate standard of living in retirement is one that will challenge this country for decades to come. We hope that our partnership with Imperial will, over time, stimulate some fresh thinking on finding solutions to this problem.'
Dr Zen Makuch, head of environmental science at Imperial, highlighted the college's existing links with the business community and the importance of pension schemes for the UK.
'The UK has as much invested in pension funds as the value of its GDP: The strength and vitality of UK pension schemes feed directly into the general well-being of UK plc,' he said.
Both sides will now form a Working Party to report back on shaping the technical content, timeline and proposed goals of the partnership with a further announcement due at the official signing of the partnership.