DB pensions move into surplus with £38bn increase in funding positions

The funding positions for defined benefit pensions improved by a record £38 million in November, helping to move the schemes into surplus.
The Aon200 Index, which tracks the funding position of the 200 largest privately sponsored pension funds, shows the overall funding position went from a £15 billion deficit at the end of October to a £23 billion surplus by the end of November, equating to the largest single month rise on record.
Aon Consulting claims that the turnaround could be due to falling expectations of future inflation, which has fallen from 3.2% to 2.6% over the month.
It has been one of the most volatile years for pension schemes. So far during 2008 there have been 21 daily swings of £10 billion or more in 2008, compared to just six in the whole period of 2001 – 2007.
Aon warned employers and pensions scheme trustees to look at market conditions and review each pension scheme’s exposure to risk.
Marcus Hurd, head of corporate solutions at Aon Consulting, said: “It has been one hell of a year and I have never seen anything like it, with market conditions frequently changing dramatically on a daily basis.
“We have never known trustees and employers to express so much concern, the pension picture is not black and white, however, and current economic factors present opportunities as well as exposing schemes to risks.”