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Pension Funds

High Court rules BT cannot change index to calculate pension benefit increases

BT Group PLC will not be able to change the index it uses to calculate pension benefit increases to participants in one part of its BT Pension Scheme, London, ruled the High Court of Justice.

The telecommunications company said Friday it was "disappointed" with the judgment, which confirms it is not currently possible to move to a new method of calculation from the existing retail price index. BT did not say how it wanted to change the calculation method. The pension fund had 49 billion ($63.5 billion) in assets as of June 30.

The decision relates to participants in Section C of the pension fund, who are employees that joined the fund between April 1, 1986, and March 31, 2001.

Pension increases for participants in Sections A and B — those who joined before Dec. 1, 1971, and participants that joined the fund between Dec. 1, 1976 and March 31, 1986, respectively — of the fund are calculated using the consumer price index. Both RPI and CPI are measures of inflation.

There are 83,000 participants in Section C. Sections A and B have a combined 213,000 participants.

The sponsoring employer sought a decision form the High Court in December regarding the possibility of changing the index for Section C.

"We are disappointed with the decision and will now consider the judgment in detail in order to decide next steps, including the possibility of an appeal," said a news release on the BT website.

A BT spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.