Private sector pension funds are facing a deficit of some £150 billion more than a year ago, although the situation has improved over the last month, figures from the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) showed today.
The aggregate deficit of 6,533 schemes stood at £158.6 billion at the end of October, the PPF said, a decrease on the previous month's deficit of £196.4 billion.
In the main, the PPF put the improvement in the deficit between September and October down to the recovery in equity markets over the month.
But the PPF said in its latest index, which covers final salary schemes: "The position has worsened on the previous year, when a deficit of £5.1 billion was recorded at the end of October 2010."
However, the PPF cautioned that the comparison with last year's figures is affected by changes made to its calculations in April, which had the effect of raising liabilities by 3.6% and reducing the total balance by £34.9 billion.
The latest figures showed that there were 5,175 schemes in deficit and 1,358 schemes in surplus.
The number of schemes in deficit was a decrease on the previous month, with 5,345 schemes in deficit at the end of September, but a rise on the 4,244 in deficit in October last year.
There was an increase in the number of schemes in surplus in October as the previous figure for September stood at 1,188.
But the figure was down on the same time last year, when 2,316 schemes were in surplus.
The total deficit of all schemes in deficit in October is estimated to have decreased to £190.2 billion from £220.9 billion at the end of September.
The equivalent figure was a £73.4 billion deficit in October 2010.
The total figure for schemes in surplus went up to £31.7 billion from £24.5 billion at the end of September 2011.
The same figure for October 2010 was a £68.3 billion surplus.
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