The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) has launched a taskforce to tackle the problems faced by defined benefit (DB) schemes.
The taskforce will be chaired by Ashok Gupta, formerly deputy chair of the Bank of England's Procyclicality Working Group.
He leads a group of industry experts and academics in seeking evidence from schemes, sponsors, regulators, government and intermediaries on the issues faced by DB schemes.
The taskforce will report initial findings in summer before announcing recommendations to government on how to ensure DB pensions remain sustainable at the PLSA Annual Conference in October.
Announcing the launch at today's PLSA Investment Conference chief executive Joanne Segars welcomed the launch.
"The difficulties facing defined benefit schemes are much talked about and they often seem too complex or enormous to address - but those problems aren't going away any time soon," she said. "The issue cannot be ignored because there are around 16 million people in DB schemes and the health of those schemes can also have a material effect on employers, government and the wider economy.
"The DB Taskforce, chaired by Ashok Gupta and supported by experts from across our industry and academia, will tease out the detail of these challenges and, equally importantly, set out possible solutions. Some of those solutions may be radical, but if we work together I am confident we can find the right answers."
Chairman Ashok Gupta said the taskforce has big issues to address: "There is broad consensus that the pensions sector should provide long-term sustainable outcomes for members and act as a powerful engine of growth to the economy. It is clear however, that for some time pension schemes have been grappling with a wide range of challenges, including scheme funding, changing regulatory requirements, and an uncertain macro-economic environment.
"The taskforce, which I am delighted to chair, will consider these issues in depth, and seek solutions that enable UK schemes to cut through the Gordian Knot that we face today."
The taskforce members are:
• Ashok Gupta - chairman
• Duncan Buchanan - partner, Hogan Lovells and president, Society of Pensions Professionals
• Frank Johnson - Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association DB Council
• Jackie Peel - Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association DB Council
• Stephen Soper - senior pensions adviser, PwC
• Paul Trickett - chairman of trustees of the Legal and General Mastertrust and Zurich UK pension scheme
• Kevin Wesbroom - senior partner, Aon Hewitt
• Lesley Williams - chairman, Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association
Nearly every trustee is confident of the next stage in their scheme’s strategy, despite almost an equal number being forced to consider replacing plans within the prior 12 months, according to research by Barnett Waddingham.
Companies could be overstating their pension liabilities by up to £60bn due to their life expectancy assumptions, according to XPS Pensions Group.
Defined benefit (DB) schemes that provide GMPs must revisit and, where necessary, top-up historic cash equivalent transfer values (CETVs) that have been calculated on an unequal basis, a landmark court judgment said last week.
Regulators must act now to impose some "proper regulation" to stop another defined benefit (DB) transfer advice disaster, saysTim Sargisson.
Opportunities for defined benefit (DB) schemes to pursue investment approaches that help repair the UK’s economy cannot stand in the way of improving member outcomes, Aegon says.