The Railways Pension Scheme has warned The Pensions Regulator (TPR) that its proposals to revise the defined benefit (DB) funding code could lead to a £15bn deficit in the scheme as it is forced to switch lower-risk but lower-returning assets, the FT says.
The article in today's Financial Times also reported that the £30bn fund said the changes would be likely to have a "substantial" cash impact on dozens of employers in the sector.
Commenting on the news, Arc Pensions Law managing partner Rosalind Connor said: "Introducing such wide-ranging changes is a particular challenge at a time of significant economic flux. In its introduction to this year's consultation document, TPR says it is ‘seeking to create a sustainable framework, which provides the right balance between the security of member benefits and the costs to employers of running their DB schemes'.
"It may be argued that the twin track approach would reduce the costs of running such schemes. However, any such savings must be offset against the costs to schemes of adjusting to a new system of regulation."
She continued: "In terms of ensuring the effectiveness and cost efficiency of the regulatory regime, following a well-trodden path must surely be the best course of action. Continuing to use an effective and widely understood system allows trustees to focus time and money on new challenges, such as GMP equalisation, or on long neglected areas, such as data and benefit audits.
"It also gives trustees more time to focus on taking prudent steps to protect schemes from the ravages of the economic fallout from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic."