Defined benefit pension scheme deficits have more than doubled over the past year, with a shortfall of £155bn in November, according to figures from the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).
Among schemes in deficit, total deficits rose from £58.3bn in November 2007 to £155bn last month, a rise of 166%.
Across defined benefit schemes as a whole, deficits are slightly lower at £136bn, but this has risen rapidly from just £97.3bn, and is more than five times the total deficit a year ago.
For those schemes with an excess, total surpluses have fallen 77% to £19bn over the past twelve months, and more than a fifth between October and November.
Around 86% of the schemes examined by the PPF were found to be in deficit, with the total number in deficit increased by 3.4% in November.
BrightonRock head of research Con Keating told Professional Pensions the figures were big but schemes should not panic. He says asset prices had gone down and the number of insolvencies had increased, but not to levels capable of threatening the PPF.
"Is it more likely to happen now than three years ago, yes, but insolvency levels are not sufficient enough to worry about," he says. "This is what happens in a recession. This is exactly what the PPF is there for."
Contact: John Bakie, Tel: 020 7484 9805, e-mail: [email protected]IFAonline
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