UK - Pension scheme deficits at FTSE350 companies barely budged in 2004, falling from £73bn in 2003 to £71bn, according to Mercer Human Resource Consulting.
While pension assets rose by around £33bn last year on the back of strong equity market performance, scheme liabitlies increased by a similar amount, said Tim Keogh, worldwide partner at Mercer.
The findings highlight that deficits will not magically disappear, even in relatively calm market conditions,” Keogh (pictured) said. “Many employers are now bracing themselves to contribute more money in order to make a dent in scheme deficits.
Mercer calculated the liabilities using UK accounting standard FRS17, which is broadly consistent with the newly adopted IAS19. FTSE350 companies account for slightly more tahn half of UK occupational pension scheme assets, Mercer said. The total deficit for all UK pension schemes is predicted to be £128bn.
Elsewhere, Credit Suisse Asset Management reported that the 2004 ouperformance of the Credit Suisse UK Broad Fixed Interest Fund can be attributed to its overweight holding in corporate bonds at the lower end of the investment grade spectrum.
The Credit Suisse UK Broad Fixed Interest Fund returned 8% over 2004, outperforming the benchmark Merrill Lynch Sterling Broad Market Index by 1.2%.
LGPS Central has appointed Hermes Equity Ownership Services (EOS) to run engagement and voting services for the investments of its nine local authority funds.
The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) is being pressed to ignore advice from a joint expert panel, which would store up problems with "pernicious consequences" for the higher education sector.
Simon Eagle of Willis Towers Watson says that, based on his work for Royal Mail, well-designed collective defined contribution (CDC) funds would be viable for some other UK employers too.
Bhavin Shah continues Newton Investment Management's series of DC columns with a look at how schemes can meet the challenges of providing income in a low interest rate world