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UK roundup: ITV Pension Scheme, TPR, JLT deficit update

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The ITV Pension Scheme has agreed an asset-backed partnership with its sponsor, the UK broadcaster ITV, which will see the scheme backed by the renowned London Television Studios building in London.

The deal will see the scheme’s deficit immediately reduce by £50m (€60.4m) on a funding basis, with a further 25 annual payments of £2.05m should the scheme remain in deficit.

These payments will be updated by 5% on an annual basis.

The deal will take the sponsor’s 2014 cash contribution to the scheme to £91m.

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Ownership of the Television Centre will remain with ITV in the meantime.

The company’s finance director, Ian Griffiths, said the deal represented another step in the management of the company’s pension risk, and was a good deal for members and shareholders.

In other news, the UK Pensions Regulator (TPR) has concluded its thematic review into the administration of pension schemes, and confirmed seven investigations into mass irregularities

The regulator set common data-accuracy targets for all private sector pension schemes, which were to be met at the end of 2012.

This was set at 100% accuracy for all data collected after June 2010, and 95% for any data collected beforehand.

TPR included 237 schemes in its investigation, of which 197 responded.

Of this, three-quarters had met the 95% accuracy target.

However, the regulator noted a third of the schemes did not measure accuracy before being included in its investigation.

The regulator confirmed its seven investigations could lead to enforcement action.

Finally, consultancy JLT has updated its IAS 19 deficit figures for pension schemes in the private sector.

Research by the firm into the funding of firms found deficit levels were at £164bn at the end of March 2014.

However, this is an £18bn improvement on the situation in 2013.

Over the year, UK private sector defined benefit schemes saw assets increase by £20bn to £1.13trn, while liabilities fell by £2bn to £1.3trn.

This left funding levels at 87%, a 1 percentage point increase.

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