UK roundup: JLT, TPR, Sackers, PLSA, state pension

first_imgThe aggregate deficit of UK private sector defined benefit (DB) schemes increased by more than £200bn (€235bn) in 2016, according to JLT Employee Benefits.The total shortfall was £434bn, the company estimated, compared with £233bn a year earlier.It is the highest year-end deficit JLT has recorded, said director Charles Cowling.This figure peaked at a record £503bn at the end of September as deficits soared in the wake of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union. At the end of 2016, total liabilities reached £1.88trn, while assets hit £1.45trn.Cowling warned that more pension funds would become “a serious threat” to their sponsors’ balance sheets “and, in some cases, the [companies’] ability to pay dividends”.He added: “The tools now exist for an effective de-risking of pension assets and liabilities that, while not promising a silver bullet, do mean pension problems can be managed and solved in time.“Maybe 2017 will be the year in which formal end-game de-risking strategies are at last embraced by the majority of pension schemes.”Meanwhile, Mercer’s data on FTSE 350 company pension schemes reported that their combined deficit increased threefold during 2016, from £39bn to £137bn.Alan Baker, UK DB risk leader, said: “This continues to put real pressure on any risk-management plans and will require trustees and corporate sponsors to work closely together to establish the right framework to monitor and manage those risks.”Last month, a committee of politicians published a wide-ranging report proposing DB sector reforms and calling for new powers for the Pensions Regulator (TPR), including a “nuclear deterrent” ability to fine companies for failing to manage pension deficits.However, the headline-grabbing proposal is unlikely to be used even if it is included in a forthcoming government reform paper, according to Faith Dickson, a partner and pensions lawyer at Sackers.“Giving TPR the power to levy punitive fines on employers to ensure they support struggling schemes might sound impressive, but it is unlikely these powers would be used in practice,” Dickson said.“If they were, the most likely outcome is further delays while employers challenge the fines.”In addition, Dickson warned that placing limits on the length of deficit-recovery plans could force some pension funds to adopt “an overly aggressive approach” to investment.Dickson supported the Work and Pensions Committee’s proposal to increase the use of regulated apportionment arrangements, which have been used on rare occasions to secure benefits while removing some responsibilities from sponsoring employers, all without resorting to the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).“We need to move away from thinking these changes are taking benefits away from members,” she said. “In reality, they can make businesses sustainable and open the door to schemes delivering benefits to members over the long term, when they might otherwise only have PPF compensation.”Elsewhere, the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) has urged the government not to increase the state pension age any further.Responding to a consultation about the future of the taxpayer-funded state pension, the PLSA said an increase above age 68 – which will be the national retirement age from 2046 – would place those with lower life expectancies at a disadvantage.Graham Vidler, director of external affairs at the PLSA, said the state pension age should not be changed any more than currently planned.He also argued that benefits should be linked to inflation.“Proposals for a variable pension age, while attractive in tackling socio-economic differences, would sacrifice the simplicity and clarity of the current system,” he said.“On balance, we support the current system of a single state pension age for all.”last_img read more

Martinez welcomes Villa resurgence

first_img Villa cut Latics five points adrift of Barclays Premier League safety with a stunning 6-1 win over Sunderland on Monday, their fourth victory in their last seven outings. But Martinez believes Villa’s run has helped Wigan because it has brought other teams into the scrap and it could take pressure off his side’s final-day clash with the midlanders. Lambert’s side are now level with Sunderland and Newcastle on 37 points with three to play while Wigan, on 32 points, have a game in hand. Martinez said: “We wanted Aston Villa to have a very strong ending to the season.” Wigan boss Roberto Martinez insists he is happy to see relegation rivals Aston Villa hitting form. The Spaniard continued: “The reason for that is I don’t think it would be healthy for any of the teams go into the final game of the season as a final, a showdown, where one of the teams has to get relegated. I think that would be very dangerous. “As it stands now I think it shows the fight goes a bit further than two teams. I think that is only a positive for every team involved in that. It is great for us that the fight to avoid that third place is more open than just two teams.” Wigan were just moments away from claiming a valuable three points when they conceded a last-gasp equaliser – an Emmerson Boyce own goal – to Tottenham last weekend. It was an agonising result but the ever-optimistic Martinez has lost none of his confidence and, with recent performances good despite poor results, remains hopeful of safety. Martinez said: “I think we have played extremely well. You need to remember that against Manchester City and West Ham we never got a point but the performances were very good. “Against Spurs we carried on with that level and I think we did enough to get the three points but, as it happens in games sometimes, you don’t the full reward. “If you perform well enough over the period you are fighting to avoid relegation, the reward will be there. “In football I think you always get what you deserve. Over the course of 38 games you can’t come out and complain or moan or blame other people. You need to accept at the end of the 38 games you will get the points you deserve.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Davis Cup: Basic defeated Grigelis, BiH – Lithuania 2: 0

first_imgThe second meeting of the last round of the Second group of Euro Africa zone between Davis Cup teams of Lithuania and BiH played Laurynas Grigelis and Mirza Basic. Our tennis player won with the score 3: 1 in sets (7: 6.7: 5/7: 6/7: 0 /, 3: 6, 6: 3) and thus increased the lead of our team to 2: 0.After Damir Dzumhur defeated Lukas Mugevicius with the score 3: 0 (6: 2, 6: 2, 6: 3) in sets, Mirza Basic (157 ATP) played with Laurynas Grigelis (454 ATP).There was a great fight in the first set, and it was resolved in the tie-break, where Basic was more successful with the score 7: 5, who thus led 1: 0 in sets after 49 minutes.The second set ended in a tie-break as well first. Basic was more focused and better and won a tie-break 7: 0, as well as the second set to take the lead 2: 0 in the match.Grigelis must save in the third set to stay in the match, in which he succeeded. After 34 minutes of play he got the third set with 6: 3 in games.However, Mirza played in the fourth set much better and did not allow a surprise. He won the set with 6: 3 in games and enrolled victory against Grigelis and increased the lead of BiH against Lithuania on 2: 0. The match lasted for 2 hours and 48 minutes.To recall, with the victory over Lithuania, BiH would qualify in the first group of Euro Africa zone, which would be a historic achievement for BH Davis Cup team.Davis Cup:Lithuania – BiH 0: 2, Laurynas Grigelis – Mirza Basic 1: 3 (6: 7/5: 7/6: 7/0: 7 /, 6: 3, 3: 6)Other matches in the duel between Lithuania and BiH:Saturday, 2 pm:Tadas Babelis / Tomas Vaise – Mirza Basic / Tomislav BrkicSunday, 1 pm:Laurynas Grigelis – Damir DzumhurLukas Mugevicius – Mirza Basic(Source: D. B./Klix.ba)last_img read more