SterlingOct 3 2022

Who are the winners and losers from a weak pound?

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Who are the winners and losers from a weak pound?

These will have caused DB pensions’ liabilities to fall sharply, as of the approximately £1.5tn in assets held by UK pension funds, a weighted average of 72 per cent of these were invested in bonds in 2021, according to the Pension Protection Fund’s Purple Book. 

Scheme liabilities fall as gilt yields go up, as the price of the underlying bond goes down.

For DB pension schemes the rise in gilt yields has mostly been good newsIan Mills, Barnett Waddingham

Ian Mills, partner at Barnett Waddingham, said: “For DB pension schemes this [rise in gilts] has mostly been good news – these schemes value their liabilities by reference to gilt yields and, for most, rising yields means an improving funding position.

"Importantly, most DB pension schemes’ funding positions will now be stronger than they were a week ago."

Pensions have more of a global exposure than previously and so are more susceptible to wider market fluctuations, added Becky O’Connor, head of pensions and savings at Interactive Investor.

"That may be reassuring given what is happening in the UK, but perhaps cold comfort given monetary tightening is still far from over in the US, as this could have a further dampening effect on equity markets," she said.


Pension funds holding liability driven investment strategies

However, some DB schemes face collateral calls in order to maintain their hedges on interest rates. 

Some of our investment consultants are of the belief that everything nearly ended for LDI [last week]Unnamed consultant

It was these products, and their impact on DB pensions' liquidity, that forced the BoE to suspend its bond buying programme.

LCP partner Dan Mikulskis observed on Twitter that these hedges “will have suffered big mark-to-market losses and will need more collateral to be placed to maintain exposures”. Schemes will generally want to do this, he added.

One consultant, who did not wish to be named, said: “Some of our investment consultants are of the belief that everything nearly ended for LDI [last week].”

Homeowners and landlords at the end of their rate fix

Hundreds of mortgage products have been withdrawn as a result of market fluctuations.

Lenders including Santander and HSBC removed their products from the market amid concerns that the "mini" Budget could prompt the Bank of England to hike interest rates, with many recalling all their fixed rate products as they scrambled to re-price them in light of soaring gilt yields.

Since the "mini" Budget, brokers have said the Financial Conduct Authority could find itself intervening in the mortgage lending market for years to come due to the sharp rise in mortgage rates.

Foreign holidays may start to be seen as a new status symbolPaul Craig, Quilter