UK - Trustees of the Marconi Pension Scheme have called for an interim review of the fund.
The move has been prompted by massive falls in the world markets over the past year and the telecom equipment giant's disposal programme which has led to a loss of part of the pension scheme.
The £2.7bn scheme is due for a full review in April but trustees want an interim review to monitor the position now.
Marconi UK pensions manager Rosemary Mounce said: “We have these ongoing issues which are related to the fact that as you sell off businesses and hand over the pension then you have to be accurate on the amount that we hand over.
When you give someone a share of the fund then you have to understand exactly what the state of the fund is.”
The trustees' decision follows calls by the NAPF to relax minimum funding rules temporarily – a move that many in the industry feel is necessary to prevent schemes pushing through changes to investment portfolios out of panic.
Bacon & Woodrow associate Beverley Morgan said: Many schemes have much more in equities than their liabilities would suggest is appropriate. If the rules aren't relaxed in these conditions, it’s a risk employers might not want to run any more.
Other consultants, however, noted that although some schemes have been affected by the fall in equity prices only a minority of schemes will be under the 90% funding level and many will keep their investment strategy the same.
Morgan Stanley executive director Gareth Derbyshire said: “There will be a significantly larger number of schemes impacted now then there were six months ago – but it is a bigger issue for those who are doing their MFR calculation now. Knowing that MFR is about to be watered down then schemes will try not to let it impact their investment strategy.”
Marconi had further bad news this week as it emerged the firm could lose over £200m from a hedging scheme related to its employee share option programme. The company has also been forced to write off its 19% holding in Atlantic Telecom – the UK operator which collapsed last week.
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