- November has seen a swing back from £36bn deficit at the end of October
- Labilities have fallen from £795bn to £767bn to improve the funded status
Mercer’s Pension Risk Survey data shows that the accounting position of defined benefit (DB) pension schemes for the UK’s 350 largest listed companies improved by £19bn in November, with the deficit falling from £36bn to £17bn.
The improvement in funded status partially reverses the significant shift back into deficit in October, from a £3bn surplus in September. Liabilities have fallen from £795bn to £767bn due to an increase in corporate bond yields and a fall in market implied inflation. Asset values fell from £759bn to £750bn.The quoted funding level increased from 95% to 98%.
Adrian Hartshorn, Senior Partner at Mercer said: “This month’s improvement in the funded status is welcome after the significant impact of the Lloyds High Court judgment in October. However, there is still a considerable gap to bridge before pension schemes can return to surplus. Trustees should remain prudent, seek to lock in gains and ask themselves how much risk they need to take to meet their funding requirements.”
LeRoy van Zyl, DB Strategist and Partner at Mercer, added: “This is a meaningful reduction in the deficit but, as we approach the end of the year and as the Government attempts to get the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement through Parliament, Trustees should evaluate the potential impact of political uncertainty on their sponsor’s financial security and put themselves in a position to capitalise on de-risking opportunities as they arise.”
Notes to Editors
Mercer estimates the aggregate combined funded ratio of plans operated by FTSE350 companies on a monthly basis. This is based on projections of their reported financial statements adjusted from each company’s financial year end in line with financial indices. This includes UK domestic funded and unfunded plans and all non-domestic plans. The estimated aggregate value of pension plan assets of the FTSE350 companies at 31 December 2017 was £766bn, compared with estimated aggregate liabilities of £798bn. Allowing for changes in financial markets through to 30 November 2018, changes to the FTSE350 constituents, and newly released financial disclosures, the estimated aggregate assets were £750bn, compared with the estimated value of the aggregate liabilities of £767bn.
Mercer delivers advice and technology-driven solutions that help organisations meet the health, wealth and career needs of a changing workforce. Mercer’s more than 22,000 employees are based in 44 countries and the firm operates in over 130 countries. Mercer is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE: MMC), the leading global professional services firm in the areas of risk, strategy and people. With more than 60,000 colleagues and annual revenue over $13 billion, through its market-leading companies including Marsh, Guy Carpenter and Oliver Wyman, Marsh & McLennan helps clients navigate an increasingly dynamic and complex environment. For more information, visit www.mercer.com. Follow Mercer on Twitter @Mercer. In the UK, Mercer Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
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