Barclays' pension surplus doubles to £1.5bn

The Barclays Group's pension surplus across all of its schemes more than doubled during 2018 to £1.5bn, its final results report has revealed.

The surplus rose by £0.8bn between 31 December 2017 and 31 December 2018, from £0.7bn to £1.5bn.

Barclay's main pension scheme, the UKRF, saw a surplus increase of £0.7bn during the same period, from £1bn to £1.7bn.

The final results report explained that the movement for the UKRF “was driven by an increase in the discount rate, payment of deficit contributions and lower expected future price inflation, offset by lower than assumed asset returns and new early retirement and cash commutation factors”.

It also revealed that Barclays expects its pensions obligations to increase by £140m as a result of the High Court ruling on guaranteed minimum pension equalisation.

Barclay's defined benefit pension fund assets increased from £0.7bn at the end of 2017, to £0.8bn in September 2018 before rising to £1.3bn at the end of 2018.

This is despite the company making pension deficit contribution payments of £0.25bn in both April and September 2018.

Barclays group chief executive officer, James Staley commented: "2018 represented a very significant period for Barclays.

“In the course of the year, having resolved major legacy issues and reduced the drag from low returning businesses, we started to see the earnings potential of the bank, as the strategy we have implemented began to deliver.

“Our overriding priority for 2019 and 2020 is the attainment of our returns targets. Beyond those we are also focusing on medium term revenue growth opportunities - opportunities which rely on technology rather than capital. Such investment and focus beyond the immediate was simply not a viable option during the many years of reshaping this company.”

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