Big surplus for company plans

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The pension schemes of the UK's 100 biggest companies have a combined surplus of £40bn – more than enough money to pay the pensions of their members.

This is the largest surplus since accountancy firm Watson Wyatt began monitoring the UK's FTSE 100 companies in 2002.

The financial position of many schemes has improved dramatically in recent times due to better investment performance and increased contributions from employers to make up previous deficits. Crucially, the funds' heavy investment in corporate bonds has served them well as the companies issuing the bonds have promised a higher income to investors in order to boost demand.

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