UK - Defined benefit pension fund surpluses increased by £17bn (€24.4bn) in September thanks to continuing market turbulence and rallying bond rates, the Pension Protection Fund has revealed.

The PPF's 7800 index - which each month estimates the funding position of 7,783 largely privately-funded pensions schemes in the UK - suggests pension scheme surpluses rose to £44bn compared with £27bn in August, and are now significantly higher than an aggregate deficit of £31bn in September 2006.

The actual surplus of all schemes in surplus has increased by £11bn to £94bn while, at the same time, the deficit of pension schemes in deficit included in this count has improved from £56bn at the end of August 2007 to £50bn. This is again improved on the actual deficit of deficit schemes a year ago of £82bn.

The number of schemes in deficit, according to September 2007 calculations, has clearly improved and stood at 5,522, down from 5,691 schemes in August 2007, but still represented 71% of total DB schemes in the sample, according to the PPF.

Likewise, 2,229 schemes - the remaining 29% - were in surplus based on scheme valuation and funding data, taken by the PPF, on an s179 basis, and assumes what would have to be paid to an insurance company to take on the payment of Pension Protection Fund levels of compensation.