UK - Undertaker Dignity is reviewing its final salary scheme arrangements and considering closing them to new members.
Dignity – which made its stock exchange debut earlier this month – will conduct an actuarial valuation of its schemes next year, which will be handled by its consultant Cartwright Consulting.
Dignity has two final salary schemes, one of which is closed to new members.
The schemes’ are worth a combined total of £32m and at the last review in April 2002, Dignity increased its contributions from 6% to 11% to make up their £3.8m deficit.
Dignity’s FRS17 deficit currently stands at £12.8m and it is looking at either increasing its contributions or closing its remaining DB scheme.
Chief executive Peter Hindley said: “There is a £3.8m shortfall in the scheme. Obviously we adjusted our contributions at the time and the next review is due in 2005, when we’ll obviously take a view at that time.
“We’ve got one that is shut, but the main final salary scheme is still open to anybody who wants to join.
“But the schemes are constantly under review, and we haven’t ruled out or ruled them in closing them.”
Mercer Human Resource Consulting European partner Matthew Demwell said that it was unsurprising that companies were looking to close their final salary schemes, given the lack of clarity about the regulatory landscape.
He said: “Anybody hesitating or on the point of closing a DB scheme must be at the end of their tether. We’ve had planning blight for years, things are still moving extremely slowly. Against this sort of background, I can understand any employer saying I’m not comfortable running a scheme.”
Dignity is the nation’s largest provider of funeral services and it is most famous for arranging the funerals of London crime lords Ronnie and Reggie Kray.
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