UK – The European pension directive’s solvency requirements will reveal that UK corporate pension schemes are 200 billion pounds (296.7 billion euros) in deficit, according to an article by PricewaterhouseCoopers partner John Shuttleworth.

“Brussels is to force full solvency disclosure on UK pension fund trustees from 2005,” he writes in a PWC pensions newsletter.

“Prediction: the deficits in UK plc’s pension funds will be revealed to total some 200 billion pounds, far in excess of recent press reports of a mere 50 billion pounds or so.”

Shuttleworth, known for his forthright views, told IPE how he came up with the figure. “I’m extrapolating it from clients that I see.”

“The EU is a club, and clubs have rules,” he said in the article. “One is that member states must implement the pensions directive by September 2005. Central to this is that pension fund members should be told the truth about their fund’s solvency.”

“Brussels speaks in plain English. ‘Solvency’ will mean just what the man in the street thinks it does: whether there is enough money to pay the promised pensions if there is no company.”

Last year Shuttleworth launched a scathing attack on everyone involved in the UK pensions industry in an article in the Financial Times.