Latest articles from Benjamin Mercer

Charities suffer under the strain of DB scheme deficits

On the go: Three-quarters of charities have defined benefit schemes in deficit, adding extra strain to a sector already hit hard by coronavirus, according to a new report by Hymans Robertson.

Sponsors facing perfect storm as furlough nears its end

Pension schemes and their sponsors face a potential perfect storm of costs as the furlough scheme reaches its endgame, with sponsors in some sectors of the economy facing acute pressure as government support dries up.

'Crystal ball-gazing' makes ethical investment tough for trustees

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Podcast: Irwin Mitchell’s pensions partner Penny Cogher and independent consultant Malcolm McLean join us to discuss innovative endgame deals, new insolvency laws, and some morally dubious LGPS investments. 

Regulator repeats anti-scam warning after £5m lost to fraudsters

On the go: The Pensions Regulator has repeated its warning about scammers after a report revealed more than £5m has been lost to fraud since February.

Brunel achieves carbon intensity reduction target

Brunel Pension Partnership has achieved its target of reducing the carbon intensity of its active portfolio by 7 per cent a year in time for the UN’s World Environment Day, but smaller schemes saddled with pooled products may lack the clout required to emulate them.

Nissan proposes DB scheme closure as sponsor pressure mounts

Nissan Sunderland

Workers at Nissan’s manufacturing plant in Sunderland could be facing a cut to their benefits, with the carmaker proposing to close its defined benefit scheme, while experts said the Covid-19 pandemic could push more sponsors to follow suit.

Suffolk holds firm through equity volatility storm

Suffolk Pension Fund has reported a bounceback in its asset values after taking a £327m hit in the first quarter of the year, as experts said it is still legitimate for immature defined benefit schemes to lean on the equity risk premium.

USS divests from coal, tobacco and weapons manufacturers

Coal power station (teaser)

The UK’s largest pension scheme has announced it is to divest from selected coal, tobacco and weapons manufacturers, following years of campaigning by members and activist groups.

Small scheme bulk annuity deals set for surge in demand

On the go: The number of small scheme buy-ins and buyouts could increase by 25 per cent in 2020, according to research from LCP.

LGPS has £2bn invested in alleged ‘illegal Israeli settlement’ companies

Thirty-three Local Government Pension Scheme funds retain investments worth more than £2bn in arms manufacturers and in companies accused of supporting illegal Israeli settlements, as some of these schemes opt for engagement instead of divestment.