DB funding levels continue to improve as market environment picks up

The aggregate surplus of the UK's 5,215 defined benefit (DB) pension schemes increased by a further £6.3bn in June to £267.9bn, according to the Pension Protection Fund's (PPF) latest 7800 Index.

The data showed that the funding ratio has topped the record high reported in May 2022, rising from 118.9 per cent at the end of May to 120.1 per cent at the end of June.

PPF chief finance officer and chief actuary, Lisa McCrory, attributed the "marginal" improvement to rising bond yields offset by decreases in equities.

Indeed, the index showed that whilst total assets fell from £1,642.6bn at £1,598.7bn, this was more than offset by the reduction in liabilities, which fell from £1,381bn to £1,330.8bn over the period.

In addition to this, the index showed that whilst 1,398 schemes remained in deficit, the deficit of these schemes fell from £28.2bn at the end of May to £25.3bn at the end of June.

However, McCrory clarified that whilst the funding improvements are positive, it is largely the impact of the current market environment, warning that "trustees should continue to monitor market movements to understand how they can take advantage and mitigate future risks on scheme funding".

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