Defined Benefit 

Pension lifeboat fund boosts reserves as claims fall

Pension lifeboat fund boosts reserves as claims fall

The Pension Protection Fund annual report and accounts for 2016 to 2017 revealed slightly more pensions schemes transferred into the lifeboat than in the previous year.

The pensions lifeboat's annual report accounts published on Friday (7 July) showed that over the year, 12,000 members transferred to the PPF, bringing the total number of members to 235,000.

Of those, just over half, 128,000, are currently in receipt of compensation.

Since the PPF was first set up in 2005 it has taken on 894 schemes and paid £3bn in compensation.

The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) has reported a healthy financial position in the annual report accounts in what has been an eventful year for pensions, including debate around the BHS pension scheme and a green paper on the future of defined benefit pensions with invested assets up from £23.4bn to £28.7bn.

As a result of good investment performance and lower than expected claims, the PPF’s funding ratio has increased to 121.6 per cent, up from 116.3 per cent last year.

Alan Rubenstein, chief executive of the PPF, said: “The last year has been full of significant developments in the world around the PPF.

"We’ve had a successful year and we continue to make steady progress towards our strategic objectives. Members can be reassured by the protection the PPF provides.

“However, we are not complacent as we continue to face large deficits in the schemes we protect.

Arnold Wagner, the PPF’s chairman, said: ““It is easy to forget that until the PPF was set up people who worked all their lives to build up their retirement savings could have been left with nothing when their employer went bust.

"If a scheme enters the PPF, its members will get more than the scheme’s assets could have otherwise provided. If a buyout can provide higher than PPF levels then that is a good outcome – but if members receive PPF compensation, that should not be described as a bad result for their pension.”

Darren Redmayne, chief executive of Lincoln Pensions, said: “The PPF looks to be in decent shape and it is encouraging to see the progress that it has made.  

"However,  as Alan Rubenstein, CEO of the PPF says, “we are not out of the woods” given the size of the deficits in the UK DB schemes.

"It us important that the barrier for PPF entry continues to remain high to discourage scheme abandonment.”

stephanie.hawthorne@ft.com

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