Guest Comment: Superfunds to provide security for vulnerable DB scheme members

It has been an incredibly challenging decade for DB schemes and their sponsors. Yet despite this challenge, the majority of schemes and employers should successfully deliver member benefits in full.

But a significant minority of schemes and employers will face a harsher reality.

Research and analysis by the PLSA’s DB Taskforce identified approximately three million members in schemes with weaker employers carrying a 50/50 chance of getting their full benefits.

Both the DWP and the DB Taskforce concluded that new solutions are needed and consolidation vehicles or superfunds should be a major part of that.

The key goal of them being to provide greater security for schemes with weaker employers, and establishing a challenging but achievable goal for employers to accelerate funding into their scheme in exchange for greater certainty over their obligations.

Finding the sweet spot between security and affordability remains hotly contested and superfunds will be one of the toughest areas to legislate.

But, for me, the key issue is whether members be in a better position after transferring to a superfund than they were before. And if that’s moving from a position where there’s a 50 per cent probability of receiving full benefits to a 95 per cent chance, that will be a substantial and worthwhile improvement.

New things can often be scary, but it is clear that if new ideas and bold solutions aren’t part of way forward for DB schemes and employers, we will see a repeat of many of same difficult challenges of the past decade.

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