FTSE 100 companies are running a combined pension deficit of &pound;96bn, the largest ever recorded, a leading firm of consulting actuaries will reveal today.<br /><br />The collapse in stock markets means that the shortfall is more than twice the &pound;41bn recorded a year ago, Lane Clark &amp; Peacock&rsquo;s (LCP) will say.<br /><br />The financial crisis has also spelled doom for pension schemes at some of the largest firms in the country, with just three FTSE 100 companies &ndash; Cadbury, Diageo and Tesco &ndash; disclosing that they still run a defined benefit pension scheme.<br /><br />Supermarket chain Wm Morrison and Barclays bank have recently announced plans to cease accrual of final salary benefits to new members, with Barclays proposing a &ldquo;cash balance&rdquo; alternative and Morrisons switching to a career average scheme.<br /><br />Energy giant BP has also said that it will shut its defined benefit pension scheme to new members, while telecoms giant BT runs a &pound;5.8bn deficit.<br /><br />&ldquo;It is only a matter of time before other companies emulate the sorts of actions taken by these large companies,&rdquo; the report will say.<br /><br />LCP estimates that had proposals by the International Accounting Standards Board to include pension-related losses on income statements been in place for 2008, pre-tax profits at 48 FTSE 100 companies reporting in December would have been slashed from &pound;36bn to &pound;13bn, based on mid-July 2009 share prices.<br /><br />Pension schemes have been battered by febrile equity markets and rising life expectancies, while the way in which accountants measure the health of a pension scheme has also changed in recent years, forcing companies to contribute more. LCP partner Bob Scott said: &ldquo;The outlook for the economy and financial markets remains unclear, creating further uncertainty for pension scheme finances.&rdquo;<br /><br />Meanwhile, broadcaser ITV yesterday confirmed that it had asked members of its defined benefits scheme to acccept a change to their terms and conditions after admitting the scheme&rsquo;s deficit &ndash; which stood at &pound;178m at the end of 2008 &ndash; had grown.