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DB schemes need clearer frameworks

Dan Mikulskis

A raft of regulatory, competitive and market developments have drastically altered the environment for the trustees and sponsors of defined benefit (DB) pension schemes, offering substantially more options for how to approach the “endgame” of running off the scheme and delivering pension promises to members. Contributor Dan Mikulskis, Head of DB Pensions – Redington.

While increased choice is positive, Redington argues that what schemes now need is a decision-making framework to assess the different options available against each other fairly, so they can ensure they’re making the best choices for members.

A number of high-profile corporate failures including Carillion and House of Fraser, coupled with better-than-expected funding level progress since 2016, has highlighted the need for schemes to act swiftly when it comes to making the right choices and implementing de-risking strategies.

In the first half of 2018 Redington saw a substantial increase in the number of schemes placing endgame planning as the number one priority for trustee boards and investment committees, with 40 percent of clients considering this.

The space has also seen entrants from a number of new providers and products, including more providers of bulk annuity buy-in and buy-out products, new cashflow-driven investing solutions and alternative consolidation vehicles.

Dan Mikulskis, Head of DB Pensions at Redington, said: “The choices facing trustees looking toward the endgame are more complex than ever. While there are plenty of products that might be right for them, what’s often missing is the right framework to make the key decisions.

“In a landscape full of products with significant commercial value, truly independent and unbiased advice has never been more important.”

Marian Elliott, Head of Integrated Actuarial at Redington, said: “Given these developments we believe the time is right for trustees and sponsors to put some serious thought into developing their endgame strategy. In our new paper we have created a practical roadmap to guide schemes through the various options and products available, helping decision makers adjust course as the environment changes.”

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