A deal on separating the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) from Tata Steel may be just two or three months away, according to reports.
The Telegraph has reported the £15bn final salary scheme, which is believed to be considering a regulated apportionment arrangement (RAA), could be close to reaching a deal after more than a year of negotiations.
Members could also be transferred into a new scheme with lower benefits or dropping the scheme into the Pension Protection Fund (PPF). However, a source told the newspaper the latter option was unlikely because of the "onerous" levy.
It comes as the scheme is set to close to future accrual on 31 March after 70% of members approved a deal last month to transfer to a defined contribution scheme.
A triennial valuation process will also begin on the same day, with estimates suggesting the BSPS will have an actuarial deficit of £2bn.
At the last triennial valuation on 31 March 2014, the scheme had a deficit of just £90m on the technical provisions measure. Rolled forward to the same date in 2015, however, this had increased to £485m.
If an RAA was agreed for BSPS, it may follow the British Home Stores schemes to be one of the first to become subject to the PPF's proposed new levy for schemes with no substantive sponsor.
However, concerns have been raised that the new levy could scupper RAAs going forward.
Tata Steel had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.
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