JLT's monthly fund index update for the month of March 2019

06 March 2019

1 March 2019: JLT Employee Benefits (JLT) has updated its monthly index, showing the funding position of all UK private sector defined benefit (DB) pension schemes under the standard accounting measure (IAS19) used in company reports and accounts.

As at 28 February 2019, JLT estimates the total DB pension scheme funding position as follows:

At 28 February 2019

Assets

Liabilities

Surplus / (Deficit)

Funding Level

FTSE 100 Companies

£646bn 

£659bn

(£13bn)

98%

FTSE 350 Companies

£731bn

£751bn

(£20bn)

97%

All UK Private Sector Pension Schemes

£1,557bn

£1,639bn

(£82bn)

95%

For comparison, the corresponding figures as at 28 February 2018 are as follows:

At 28 February 2018

Assets

Liabilities

Surplus / (Deficit)

Funding Level

FTSE 100 Companies

£667bn

£691bn

(£24bn)

97%

FTSE 350 Companies

£753bn

£785bn

(£32bn)

96%

All UK Private Sector Pension Schemes

£1,531bn

£1,638bn

(£107bn)

93%

Charles Cowling, Chief Actuary, JLT Employee Benefits, comments: “Despite the continued political turmoil in Westminster and across the EU, the last month has seen little change to the aggregate position for FTSE 100 pension schemes which continues to show a modest overall deficit. Recent inflation figures have been positive and markets are holding up despite the increasing uncertainty and proximity of a potential Brexit endgame. Markets traditionally do not like uncertainty and there is clearly a strong desire from businesses for certainty on the Brexit outcome to be managed, whatever that may be.

“Whatever the outcome of Brexit, the outlook for pension scheme deficits suggests a high risk of more volatility and potentially higher pension deficits. This has been exacerbated by statements from the Bank of England which warned that not only would a no-deal Brexit likely result in higher inflation, as a result of weakening sterling and higher tariffs for the UK on global trade, but also that it would likely respond by lowering interest rates. Indeed, the Bank of England has said that with the uncertainty around Brexit, the next move in interest rates could be in either direction – seemingly with equal likelihood. This could be bad news for pension schemes – many of which are effectively gambling on markets and, in particular, interest rate rises to bail them out of uncomfortable deficit positions."

“While many pension schemes have successfully navigated recent turbulent markets by taking out investment risk, many are still heavily exposed either to a fall in interest rates or a rise in inflation, or both. Trustees and companies should urgently look at their hedging strategies on interest rates and inflation and check whether increases to the level of protection are now appropriate. Trustees would not gamble pension scheme money on black or red in a game of roulette – I’m not sure that gambling on the next direction for interest rates is any better.”

- ENDS -

Enquiries:

JLT Employee Benefits

Corinne Gladstone, PR Manager | T: +44 (0)20 7895 7705 | E: corinne_gladstone@jltgroup.com

Smithfield Consultants:

Julia Cooke | T: +44 (0)20 3047 2529 | E: jcooke@smithfieldgroup.com

Notes to Editor

Statistics in the headline and quote: 

JLT’s headline estimates are based on data generated through JLT’s previous buyout transactions requiring GMP equalisation. 

About JLT Employee Benefits

Jardine Lloyd Thompson is one of the world’s leading providers of insurance, reinsurance and employee benefits related advice, brokerage and associated services. JLT’s client proposition is built upon its deep specialist knowledge, client advocacy, tailored advice and service excellence.

JLT is quoted on the London Stock Exchange and owns offices in 41 countries with more than 10,600 employees. Supported by the JLT International Network, it offers risk management and employee benefit solutions in 135 countries.

For further information about JLT, please visit our website www.jlt.com.

About JLT Employee Benefits

JLT Employee Benefits is one of the UK’s leading employee benefit providers offering a wide range of benefit and pension services, including administration, actuarial and pension consultancy, investment, Self Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs) and Small Self Administered Schemes (SSASs) administration, flexible benefits, healthcare, benefit communication and financial education.

Pensions and employee benefits companies within the JLT Employee Benefits group of companies include: JLT Benefit Solutions Ltd, Profund Solutions Limited, JLT Wealth Management Limited, JLT Investment Management Limited and Independent Trustee Services Limited. JLT Employee Benefits is part of Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group plc.

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contact Murray Wright
Principal murray_wright@jltgroup.com