MorganAsh has launched three services to help defined benefit (DB) schemes improve the accuracy of their data and understand their true liability levels.
The medically-underwritten mortality studies specialist will work with participating schemes to identify deceased members, locate ‘gone away' members, and update members' marital statuses.
The firm said the services, which will be conducted with The Tracing Group, will be "cost effective" for schemes of all sizes, and will build on its existing mortality studies service to enhance scheme data and provide a true picture of the scheme.
Speaking to PP, managing director Andrew Gething explained the service will be customisable to each scheme, allowing the use of samples or even the entire membership.
"What we can do by using these cheaper techniques is we can clean up the data, take out people who are not there and also look at the marital status," he said. That will help get more data for less cost."
He said the service would probably be of most benefit to mid-size schemes, with between 500 and several thousand members.
The firm's mortality study offering involves contacting scheme members and assessing them to gain a better understanding of their health, which then feeds into the mortality assumptions.
The process has previously enabled schemes to reduce their estimated liabilities, and the company predicts that additional data on members' marital statuses could further reduce these liabilities by another 4%.
Gething continued: "The whole point of this is to try and get accurate data rather than just guess. Alarmingly, what we've found is because people don't have any data, they're assuming 90% are married because they just don't know. Actually when they get down to it, it's radically different."
He said previous experience had found the number of members married has significant variance, ranging between 54% of members and 84%.
The firm will also seek to update records for ‘gone away' members - those members that a scheme does not have an up-to-date address for - in order to boost accuracy further.
The Tracing Group managing director Danielle Higgins added: "A growing number of schemes are using medically-underwritten mortality studies and we believe that trustees will recognise the value added by eliminating data errors, tracing ‘gone away' members and accurately assessing members' marital status."
Last November, MorganAsh helped the JT Dove Pension Scheme cut its DB deficit by 11% through a medically-underwritten mortality study, while last January Aliaxis's DB scheme secured a £36m bulk annuity deal after completing a similar mortality study with the firm.
Gething said these services would make it easier for schemes to secure buy-ins or buyouts.
"The better position your data is in before you go for a buyout or buy-in, the better position your transaction will be. People who are buying your assets will have less variance, and the more you can reduce that upfront, the better.
"They know what they're buying and they're far happier to give a better price. If they don't, they've got to make assumptions and they'll be cautious. Just remove that ambiguity; the more unknowns you remove, the better price you'll get."
Just Group has completed a £74m pensioner buy-in with the UK pension scheme of a US-listed engineering business.
The Smiths Industries Pension Scheme has secured a £146m buy-in with Canada Life in its fourth bulk annuity and its sponsor’s tenth overall.
The Prudential Staff Pension Scheme has entered into a £3.7bn longevity swap with Pacific Life Re, insuring the longevity risk of over 20,000 pensioners.
The Baker Hughes (UK) Pension Plan has secured approximately £100m of liabilities through a buy-in with Just Group.
There have now been a total of 30 longevity swaps over £1bn publicly announced. The full list, provided by Willis Towers Watson and through PP research, is as follows...