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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Pension Protection Fund surplus up £248m

The PPF's annual report, published today, also reveals that it was 105.1 per cent funded as of March, compared with 103.3 per cent last year.

The lifeboat fund said that the figures meant that its probability of achieving financial self-sufficiency by its target date of 2030 increased from 83 per cent at 31 March 2010 to 87 per cent at 31 March 2011.

PPF chairman, Lady Barbara Judge, said: "We have seen excellent progress during what has been a difficult year economically. While our results are encouraging in the short-term, they must also be seen in the context of our long-term objective to become financially self-sufficient by 2030 - and they confirm that we remain on track to achieve that objective.

"While we may have ridden the storm well so far, we cannot afford to be complacent and we remain vigilant to any risks to our future funding."

Chief executive, Alan Rubenstein (pictured), added: "The period since the end of March 2011 has seen difficult times in the financial markets and this has affected our funding, although we have fared better than other pension schemes because of the nature of our investment strategy.

"This highlights the importance of continually reviewing our funding strategy. The update we have published today is the first formal review we have carried out since we launched the strategy in 2010 and reflects new factors which may affect its chances of success.

"After thorough analysis, we report that, despite these new factors and the challenging economic environment, our ultimate target remains the same. We believe this will give all our stakeholders the confidence that we can meet our long-term funding aims."

Selected facts and figures from the PPF annual report
- By 31 March 2011, the PPF was £678m in surplus, an increase of £248m from the previous year
- A total of 283 schemes had transferred to the PPF, representing 74,651 people
- 335 schemes were in the assessment period, representing 187,223 members who were protected to PPF levels of compensation
- Investment assets grew from £4.4bn in 2009/10 to almost £6.3bn in 2010/11
- The PPF saw investment returns of 4.7 per cent (equivalent to £224m), beating its LIBOR benchmark of 0.7 per cent