Latest articles from Benjamin Mercer

Pandemic damage mitigated as quarter of schemes are in surplus


More than a quarter (27 per cent) of defined benefit and hybrid schemes with tranche 15 valuations were in surplus on a technical provisions basis, despite the market shock of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Pensions Regulator’s latest scheme funding analysis.

PPF to cover costs of scheme Fraud Compensation Fund claims

Robert Churchill/Getty Images

The Department for Work and Pensions is consulting on regulatory amendments that would allow the Pension Protection Fund to make interim payments to cover scheme fees and costs during Fraud Compensation Fund claims, and remove a loophole regarding child dependants.

USS annual report shows significant improvement but angers unions

Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

The significant improvement in the Universities Superannuation Scheme’s funding position and resilience has angered the University and College Union, which argued that benefit cuts implemented in April were “totally unnecessary” in light of the scheme’s strength.

ClearGlass: Passive ESG funds provide value for money

News on the go

On the go: Passive environmental, social and governance funds are cheaper and outperform their non-ESG equivalents, representing value for money, according to a study by ClearGlass Research.

USS review sees ‘much improved’ deficit cut by £12bn


Despite an accelerated year-end review conducted by the Universities Superannuation Scheme revealing a “much improved deficit”, with a reduction of £12bn, the trustee board is reluctant to agree to interim changes to benefits of contribution rates before the scheme’s 2023 valuation.

Govt writes off £483,000 as Aon completes Maxwell scheme wind-up


Aon has overseen the wind-up of the AGB Pension Scheme, the last of the so-called “Maxwell pension schemes” supported by Aon Trustees Limited, with the aid of a £483,294 write-off by the government.

Opperman to lead task force on ‘social factors’ in ESG

John McConnico/AP Photo

Pensions minister Guy Opperman has announced the creation of a task force to aid trustees with monitoring data and international reporting developments as they pertain to the “S” in environmental, social and governance considerations.

Weekly Roundup: Somehow, Opperman returned

Guy Opperman

This week – Opperman returns as pensions minister, Aviva faces paying £3.5mn in a Barber window pension error claim, the DWP coughs up £13mn in arrears to Financial Assistance Scheme members over ECJ rulings, and the government announces its preferred candidate for the Pensions Ombudsman.

PPF fulfils strategic priorities and may lower the levy

News on the go

On the go: The Pension Protection Fund has handed out £1.1bn in member payments in the past year, having successfully met its five strategic priorities — and it may now be in a position to consider bringing down the PPF levy as part of a focus shift towards financial resilience.

Providers delaying transfers are failing their customers


Podcast: PensionBee founder Romi Savova is joined by Penfold co-founder Pete Hykin to discuss the ongoing pension transfer fight, the fallout from pensions minister Guy Opperman’s resignation that wasn’t, and employers misunderstanding auto-enrolment.