The BBC cannot modify its defined benefit fund to cut future benefits for participants, the U.K.'s High Court ruled July 28.
The BBC Pension Scheme, London, sponsored by the British Broadcasting Corp., had £19.8 billion ($25.4 billion) in assets as of March 31, 2022, the latest available figure. It has four levels of benefit structures.
In December 2020, the pension fund completed a £3 billion longevity swap with Zurich and Canada Life Reinsurance to provide more certainty over future funding costs. The deal covered about a third of retiree liabilities.
According to the broadcaster's court filing on May 2022 seeking to reduce future accruals, less than 40% of BBC beneficiaries are in the defined benefit fund, and rising costs were adding to increased licensing fees.
The National Union of Journalists welcomed the court's ruling in a statement. "The NUJ hopes the BBC does not further waste license fee money on an appeal to this decision," it said. If the BBC does appeal, the court would revisit the case on Sept. 15. The union said the legal case is part of a wider ongoing pension review being carried out by the BBC.