Collective Defined Contribution (CDC)

What is a CDC pension?

A CDC pension is a new style of pension scheme designed to bridge the gap between Defined Benefit (DB) and Defined Contribution (DC) schemes. It has the potential to offer members a higher and more predictable retirement income than Defined Contribution schemes and take-out the risk of unexpected pension-related costs for employers compared to DB schemes.

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How it works

Unlike a DC scheme, a CDC scheme provides a whole-life pension income to members.

The contributions employers and members pay are fixed and pooled into a collective fund. By pooling investment and life expectancy risk amongst the membership, a CDC pension is expected to generate higher returns than an individual DC scheme resulting in higher expected benefits.

Annual increases to benefits depend on the performance of the scheme. This removes the possibility of the employer having to plug a funding gap.

The benefits of CDC

CDC - the best of both worlds

Download our flyer below to see how CDC pension schemes are bridging the gap between Defined Benefit (DB) and Defined Contribution (DC) pensions.

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years of experience in the pensions sector
of assets under management (as at September 2023)
members across the UK

Contact our team

Ask a question, book a call with us or learn more about CDC.  

CDC's could be a big part of the future for pensions. A new type of scheme that can provide better returns for savers, allowing them to remain in high-growth assets for longer. At the same time offering members the assurance of a regular income in retirement and more predictable outcomes.

Paul Maynard

UK Pensions Minister, 28 November 2023


Although CDC has been operating in other countries for a few years, it was only introduced to the UK as part of the Pension Schemes Act in 2021.

The Department for Workplace Pensions started looking to extend CDC to multi-employer arrangements in 2023. The Pensions Regulator is expected to issue authorisation guidelines towards the end of 2024. As a result, we’re actively working through the considerations of a multi-employer CDC scheme. 

We’d like to hear from both new and existing employers as we look to develop our CDC offering.

See what our Client & Strategic Partnerships Director Andy O’Regan thinks about CDC using the link below.

Andy O'Regan - Employer & Strategic Partnerships Director

CDC Podcast

The latest mallowstreet talks podcast features Andy O’Regan, TPT’s Client and Strategic Partnerships Director, and covers the growth of CDC pension schemes.

  • Money Age Awards Winner 2023
  • Pensions Age Awards 2023 Winner. Master Trust offering of the year
  • Professional Pensions UK Pensions Awards 2023 Winner. DB Master Trust/Consolidator of the year. TPT Retirement Solutions
  • UK Pensions Awards Winner 2023 - Pensions Communication Initiative of the Year
  • European Pensions Awards 2023 Winner. European Pensions innovation award (Pension Fund)


  • Can you open a CDC pension scheme if you have already have an existing DB or DC scheme in place?

    Yes, Collective Defined Contribution schemes will be an option for all employers regardless of whether they currently offer DB or DC (or a combination of DB and DC) to their employees.  

  • What is the risk of a funding deficit in Collective Defined Contribution scheme?

    There is no funding risk for the employer. The funding position of a CDC scheme will be assessed annually by the Scheme Actuary. If the assessment identifies that the assets in the scheme are lower than the value expected then the targeted level of income will be adjusted accordingly. No deficit contributions would be payable by the employer.

  • Will you be able to take income drawdown from a CDC pension at retirement?

    No, Collective Defined Contribution schemes are designed to provide members with a targeted income for life. Therefore, income drawdown will not be available from the scheme.

    However, If a member wishes to take drawdown they will be able to transfer the assessed value of their CDC benefits into a DC scheme for drawdown.

  • Will salary sacrifice be available within a CDC pension scheme?

    Yes, we anticipate that employers will be able to offer salary sacrifice to members of Collective Defined Contribution schemes.

  • How will pension benefits be paid from a Collective Defined Contribution pension scheme, will members need to purchase an annuity at retirement?

    No, members' pensions will be paid directly from the Collective Defined Contribution pension scheme (similar to a DB arrangement).

  • Can you take a tax free cash lump sum from a Collective Defined Contribution pension scheme?

    Yes, we expect the regulations to allow members to take a tax free lump sum on retirement from their CDC pension. Part of the accrued pension would be converted to the lump sum (similar to a DB arrangement).

  • Could members transfer existing/deferred funds into a CDC pension scheme?

    Yes, we expect the regulations to allow transfers into the CDC scheme from either DB or DC. The value of the transfer value would buy a certain target level of pension in the CDC scheme.  

  • Will you be able to make additional voluntary contributions (AVCs) to a CDC pension?

    Yes, we expect the regulations to allow AVCs in CDC pension schemes.  

  • In the event of death what benefits will be paid from a CDC pension scheme?

    Yes, we expect there will be scope for CDC schemes to have some beneficiary benefits 'built-in' to the scheme design.  

  • How is the pension at retirement and increases calculated in a Collective Defined Contribution pension scheme?

    The target pension 'earned' each year from a CSC pension scheme will be calculated by considering the value of contributions paid in, the age of the member, target future pension increase rate and projected future life expectancy. This target pension earned each year is then increased both before and after retirement. 
    Much like a DB scheme CDC pension schemes will target a certain indexed income in retirement. However, where a DB scheme guarantees the increases a CDC will apply the target increase where the funding allows it based on the schemes annual valuation.

  • How will contribution levels be set in a Collective Defined Contribution pension scheme?

    Contribution levels will be set by the sponsoring employer. Employers currently offering DC benefits may choose to use the same contribution rates within Collective Defined Contribution pension scheme.  Employers will also need to be mindful of the Auto Enrolment requirements. 

Get in touch

Leave your details and we’ll be in touch, or drop us a line to tell us about your requirements and we’ll see how we can help. 

  • Andy O'Regan

    Client & Strategic Partnerships Director

  • Paul Eagles

    Senior Professional Services Manager

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