UK DB pension increases by £100bn in August, according to PwC Skyval Index

Sep 03, 2019

Figures released today from PwC’s Skyval Index show the deficit of defined benefit (DB) pension funds stood at £340bn at the end of August 2019 - a £100bn increase from the previous month. 

PwC’s Skyval Index, based on the Skyval platform used by pension funds, provides an aggregate health check of the UK’s c.5,450 corporate DB pension funds.  The current Skyval Index figures, based on the 'gilts plus' method widely used by scheme actuaries, are:

Assets

   Liability target

   Deficit

£1,730bn

   £2,070bn

   £340bn

 

According to the Skyval Index, the current deficit has doubled since the end of August 2018 when it stood at £170bn. The rise in the deficit during August 2019 followed a £20bn increase the previous month which was attributed to a drop in bond yields and corresponding increase in liabilities.


Steven Dicker, PwC’s chief actuary, said:  

“August saw a further reduction of 30 basis points in real yields, to the point where returns are now negative by 2.5% compared to RPI inflation. The aggregate asset value has only increased slightly and is far short of matching the increase in liabilities, resulting in another increase in this month's deficit.

“The deficit is now twice the amount it was 12 months ago, taking us back to levels last seen in early 2018.  Schemes that have significantly hedged their exposures in the meantime may be insulated from the worst of this but others will face difficult decisions around how they balance the demands of the pension schemes and their businesses.”

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