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UK pension schemes 100% funded on long-term targets for the first time

UK pension schemes 100% funded on long-term targets for the first time

06 Sep 2022

  • UK pension schemes have become 100% funded on a long-term target basis for the first time since aggregated records began.
  • UK pension scheme deficits against long-term funding targets fell by a further £69bn over the month to 31 August 2022.
  • Gilt yields rose by 0.7% over the period, reducing the value of schemes’ liabilities and continuing the trend seen during 2022.
  • For schemes that are now 100% funded, there may be opportunities to lock in recent gains and to review their ultimate end-game strategy.

Deficits of UK pension schemes have decreased by c.£69bn over the month to 31 August 2022 against long-term funding targets, an analysis from XPS’s funding tracker XPS DB:UK has revealed. Based on assets of £1,623bn and liabilities of £1,620bn, the aggregate funding level of UK pension schemes on a long-term target basis was 100.2% as of 31 August 2022.

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Drivers of the change

Rising gilt yields continued to be the main contributor to improvements in funding levels during August, partially offset by a small rise in long term expectations of inflation. This adds to the improvements in long-term positions that we have seen over 2022 –now in excess of £330bn for the year. Equity markets struggled over August but performance was pushed back into positive territory for many UK pension schemes, due to depreciation of Sterling over the month. Matching assets continued to fall alongside liability values, but this remains beneficial for schemes that are not fully hedged, particularly when looking at longer-term assumptions.

Tom Birkin, Actuary at XPS Pensions Group said: “The DWP launched its long-awaited consultation on DB funding rules and long-term funding objectives at the end of July. However, with the average UK pension scheme now fully funded on a long-term basis, there may not be as many schemes having to take drastic action as a result of the new regulations as once thought. Now is an excellent opportunity for schemes to consider their investment strategies to ‘lock in’ these significant gains and to think about what the ultimate end-game for the scheme might be. This is good news for pension scheme members as securing members benefits is within reach for more schemes than ever before.”



XPS DB:UK Funding Watch monitors the combined deficit and funding level of UK defined benefit (DB) pension schemes (i.e. all registrable schemes - including hybrids) on a long-term target basis using a discount rate of Gilts + 0.5%. It combines XPS’s market leading Member Analytics and the award-winning journey planning tool, Radar, enabling real time monitoring of changes and analysis of the reasons behind any movement.

An online version of XPS DB:UK is available here:

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