Early harvest of the results from the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association’s DB Taskforce Call for Evidence

Held on Thursday, October 27, 2016, from 12.30-2.15pm


  • Ashok Gupta (taskforce chair, PSLA)

  • David Fairs (lead partner, People Practice, KPMG)

  • Jonathan Ford (chief leader writer, Financial Times)



Since the Pensions and Lifetime saving Association launched a taskforce to examine the urgent issues facing defined benefit pension schemes, things have got even worse. At the end of August the near 6,000 DB schemes covered by the UK’s Pension Protection Fund were an aggregate £460bn in deficit – about 50% more than at the end of May – and only about one in six schemes were in surplus. This drip, drip, drip of bad news has added to the more dramatic cases of the BHS and British Steel funds.

The PLSA’s taskforce was set up to review challenges that include market volatility, regulatory burdens and longevity. Its aims are “to (a) help ensure the sustainability of open DB schemes; and (b) help closed DB schemes run off more efficiently and ultimately secure member benefits”. The context is not only growing pension liabilities but also the drain on corporate sponsors, which need to invest to remain healthy enough to fund pension promises.

So I am delighted that Ashok Gupta, chair of the taskforce, has agreed to walk us through the findings from the call for evidence. Ashok is a non-executive director of New Ireland Assurance and JP Morgan European Smaller Companies Trust. He is a member of the FRC Codes and Standards Committee and Actuarial Council. He chairs eValue Investment Solutions and was recently joint deputy chair of a Bank of England Working Group on Procyclicality. 

But he will not get things all his own way. I am grateful that we have lined up two excellent respondents:

  • David Fairs, part of the leadership team of KPMG's People Consulting Practice and a Partner in the pensions practice and a former member of the Pension Regulator's Advisory Panel and Immediate Past Chairman of the Association of Consulting Actuaries.
  • Jonathan Ford, chief leader writer for the FT since 2010. His recent column raised important questions about liability-driven investment and the herding of pension funds into gilts.

If you (or a colleague) would like to join the discussion, please call the office on 020 7621 1056 or email roxanne@csfi.org. As usual, sandwiches, wine and soft drinks will be provided.