1st February 2019 Rosalind Connor comments in Utility Week on pensions de-risking

The prospect of a new Pensions Bill and tighter regulation ahead means managing pensions risk needs to be a priority for utilities.

The year ahead for pensions across the utility sector looks set to be an uncertain one – with the need to de-risk pensions schemes gaining traction.

Currently, there is little legal room for manoeuvre for the regulator if the parties are not being unreasonable and have reached agreement, explained Rosalind Connor.

“At the moment it is difficult for The Pensions Regulator to take action if the business is strong enough to fund the pension scheme deficit, and by the time that ceases to be the case, it may be too late to act. The Department of Work and Pensions is expecting to put in place a Pensions Bill next year and, following the White Paper, it is expected that this will allow the regulator to take more action.”

The question this prompts is, if a business is profitable and able to manage its pension deficit over time, and the trustees are happy with that, should the business be forced to put money into the scheme earlier? “Historically the answer was ‘no’, but we are perhaps seeing a sea change in opinion where pension deficits are perceived as a sign of poor management, however approached,” Rosalind said.

Read Rosalind’s comments in Utility Week

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