UK pension schemes face investigation by Pensions Regulator as trustees ignore minimum funding suggestions

One-third of pension schemes are prepared to set funding targets below the ‘trigger’ levels set out by the Pensions Regulator under its Statutory Funding Objective (SFO) regime, a study has found.

The SFO requires trustees to set scheme-specific funding targets. And the regulator has set ‘trigger points’, below which schemes may be subject to investigation.

A survey of 230 UK pension schemes across a variety of industry sectors by Mercer Human Resource Consulting  found at least 30% of trustee bodies were prepared to trigger investigations and take their chances with the regulatory follow-up. The total could be as high as 60%, according to Mercer.

At the time of the study, 49 of the cases surveyed had presented plans to the regulator for assessment; 23% had received confirmation that the regulator would not intervene; 20% had been challenged to justify their approach (although this did not mean they had to change it); and 57% had received no response at all.

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