There would be huge implications for defined benefit pensions and some schemes could close if Scotland were to become independent, the National Association of Pensions Funds has warned.
An NAPF report, published yesterday, called on the Scottish and UK governments to provide more clarity so that pension funds and their members could make informed decisions ahead of the referendum on September 18, next year.
In Scottish independence: the implications for pensions, the NAPF claimed that one of the biggest potential issues for UK pension schemes was the impact on their funding arrangements should they become 'cross-border schemes'.
It said: 'A more demanding funding regime is likely to lead to the closure of DB schemes. At the very least, there should be a grace period (and an exemption) to help schemes manage any transition.'
The report also questioned how the regulatory structure for pension schemes in an independent Scotland would work. It noted that 'unpicking' the current compensation regime would be extremely difficult and require careful management.
The report also welcomed the clarity provided by the Scottish Government's commitment to introducing a single-tier pension. But it added that there were unanswered questions about how the government would manage the abolition of contracting-out.
'It is important that employers are assisted in managing this process, otherwise even more DB schemes are likely to close,' the NAPF said.
The association added that any changes to the tax relief arrangements would have implications for pension schemes administering pensions for Scottish, as well as English and Welsh, taxpayers.
In September, the Scottish government issued a paper setting out in greater detail the implications for pensions if there was a majority 'yes' vote in next year's referendum.
And last month the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries urged Holyrood to provide more details of its plans for spending on the state pension in an independent Scotland.