The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) has set up a taskforce to tackle the problems facing defined benefit (DB) pension schemes, which are held by up to 16m UK employees, including scheme funding issues and changing regulatory requirements
The group, made up of eight industry experts and academics, will be chaired by Ashok Gupta, former deputy chair of the Bank of England’s procyclicality working group, which considers investment trends by insurance companies and pension funds.
It is seeking views and evidence from pension schemes of all sizes, as well as sponsors, regulators, government and intermediaries to allow it to get to the heart of the issues affecting defined benefit (DB) schemes, and is set to report its initial findings in the summer.
Joanne Segars, PLSA chief executive, said the group would look to ‘tease out’ the detail of the challenges facing DB schemes and would be looking at ‘radical’ solutions.
‘The difficulties facing defined benefit schemes are much talked about and they often seem too complex or enormous to address – but those problems aren’t going away any time soon. The issue cannot be ignored because there are around 16m people in DB schemes and the health of those schemes can also have a material effect on employers, government and the wider economy,’ she said.
Ashok Gupta, chair, DB Taskforce, said: ‘There is broad consensus that the pensions sector should provide long-term sustainable outcomes for members and act as a powerful engine of growth to the economy. It is clear however, that for some time pension schemes have been grappling with a wide range of challenges, including scheme funding, changing regulatory requirements, and an uncertain macro-economic environment. These have hampered their ability to deliver both commonly agreed objectives.
‘The taskforce will consider these issues in depth and seek solutions that enable UK schemes to cut through the Gordian Knot that we face.’
Defined benefit taskforce members
- Ashok Gupta - chair
- Duncan Buchanan - partner, Hogan Lovells, and president, Society of Pensions Professionals
- Frank Johnson - Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association DB council
- Jackie Peel - Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association DB council
- Stephen Soper - senior pensions adviser, PwC
- Paul Trickett - chairman of trustees, Legal and General Mastertrust and Zurich UK pension scheme
- Kevin Wesbroom - senior partner, AonHewitt
- Lesley Williams - chair, Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association