- Instead of easements to current market conditions and QE, the regulator has given the pensions industry a new set of rules and constraints, according to KPMG
Commenting on the Pensions Regulator’s statement today on pension scheme funding, KPMG Pensions Partner, Mike Smedley, said:
“Although this was originally billed as a response to current market conditions and Quantitative Easing, in practice there is no olive branch for employers and the Regulator has significantly raised the stakes for both Trustees and sponsors.
“While the industry was crying out for easements to reflect gilts markets and QE, instead we have a new set of rules and constraints.
“The Regulator seems to be taking a step change in approach, raising the bar for trustees and employers and laying down some clear markers of what it expects to see in valuations – and as importantly what it does not expect to see.
“The message comes through loud and clear that the Regulator expects strong companies to meet deficits while they are in good financial health, and will be less tolerant of long recovery plans.
“Although the statement applies from September 2011, companies with earlier valuations that are close to completion may suddenly find the rug pulled from under them if the Trustees seek to take account of the new guidance.”
According to KPMG’s pensions team, today’s statement from the Pensions Regulator also goes beyond actuarial valuations due now - making a number of statements that appear to apply to all valuations going forward.
The Regulator’s statements highlight a number of “rules” that it expects to apply to valuations, apparently taking away some of the flexibility for schemes. For example the statement includes strongly worded comments about what it expects to apply in most situations, recognising that there will always be exceptions:
In KPMG’s view, the statement also signals much greater intent to intervene in individual cases and to challenge Trustees on their thinking. In particular the statement will force Trustees to clearly document their pension strategy (including contingency plans) in the context of the actuarial valuation, employer covenant and investment strategy – and be prepared for them to be subject to Regulator scrutiny.
For further information please contact:
Margot Cowhig, KPMG Corporate Communications
Tel: 0207 694 4246 Mobile: 07920 274856: firstname.lastname@example.org
KPMG Press Office: 0207 694 8773
Notes to editors.
KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and operates from 22 offices across the UK with over 11,000 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.7 billion in the year ended September 2011. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. We operate in 152 countries and have 145,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. KPMG International provides no client services.