The Pension Protection Fund tapped four pension consulting firms for an advisory panel to help it manage overfunded U.K. pension funds, it said Tuesday in a news release.
Lane Clark & Peacock, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Hymans Robertson and Barnett Waddingham were appointed to serve on the new panel that will provide core services to overfunded plans, including transaction adviser, scheme actuary and investment support, PPF said in the release.
"For over a year, our internal project has looked at the way overfunded schemes are managed. We're excited to utilize the newly implemented processes, policies and PPF + Advisory Panel to shape the industry's handling of schemes that may not transfer to us, with a view to minimizing associated timescales and costs in the long term," PPF said. The panel will work with PPF assessment specialists.
The PPF is the lifeboat fund for defined benefit plans of insolvent U.K. companies. It covers 5,215 pension funds, of which 2,152 are in deficit and 3,063 are in surplus.
Pension funds considered overfunded on a PPF basis are called PPF+.
PPF's October announcement of the PPF+ advisory panel said the firms will have two-year agreements with an option of two further 12-month extensions.
Relationships manager Dan Collins said at the time that as PPF continues to see more overfunded pension funds come up for assessment, the specialist panel would provide consistency and efficiency. "Our aim is for these schemes to exit the PPF assessment period as seamlessly as possible and ensure they secure the best possible outcome for members outside the PPF," Mr. Collins said.
PPF also announced new members of an existing legal panel. The procurement process for those appointments emphasized firms' social values. Applicants were required to demonstrate actions they are taking to improve their workforce diversity and inclusion.
The aggregate surplus of the 5,215 schemes in the PPF 7800 Index increased to £129.3 billion ($174.4 billion) at the end of December, up from £81.4 billion the previous month, while the funding ratio increased to 107.7% from 104.6% over the same period, according PPF's January update.