Employees in the UK saved £98.4bn (€86bn) across public and private sector workplace pension schemes last year, up by £5.3bn on the total amount saved the year before in 2019 earnings terms.

Published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) today, the statistics showed that the £98.4bn was saved by 19.2 million workers, 88% of the eligible employers.

In 2012, when automatic enrolment kicked in, 8.5 million workers were saving.

Experts hailed the statistics as a sign of the boost delivered by auto-enrolment, while expressing concern about the impact the economic ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic might have.

“Close to eight years since auto-enrolment was introduced, today’s figures reveal how pivotal the scheme has been in encouraging people to engage with pension saving,” said Maike Currie, investment director at Fidelity International.

“It’s encouraging to see high levels of participation among younger employees, with the gap in participation rates between age groups narrowing since 2012.”

She also noted that the figures showed a growing number of women opting into schemes, with participation rates in the private sector one percentage point higher for women in 2019 for full-time employees.

Helen Morrissey, pension specialist at Royal London, also said the new figures showed the positive impact auto-enrolment has had, and expressed hope that any coronavirus impact would be contained.

“In the coming months we are likely to see huge job losses and those who remain in work may feel the need to reduce or even stop contributing to a pension,” she said. “While this is understandable during such uncertain times we hope it will be relatively short term and people must ensure they resume their pension saving so they don’t risk long term damage to their financial security in retirement.”

The DWP statistics can be found here.

MetLife enters UK longevity reinsurance market

Metropolitan Tower Life Insurance Company, a subsidiary of US insurer MetLife, has carried out its first UK longevity reinsurance transaction.

The deal is with Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC), covering around £280m of pension liabilities.

“This is a positive development for both PIC and for market capacity as a whole”

Khurram Khan, head of longevity risk at PIC

“This transaction marks an important milestone in MetLife’s strategy and gives us the opportunity to apply our experience managing risk to a new market,” said Graham Cox, executive vice president and head of Retirement & Income Solutions at MetLife.

“With this transaction, MetLife is establishing itself as a reinsurance solution for direct insurers in the UK.”

Khurram Khan, head of longevity risk at PIC, said the transaction was “a positive development for both PIC and for market capacity as a whole”.

Brunel chooses Macquarie for transition management

Local authority pension pool Brunel Pension Partnership has appointed Macquarie’s portfolio solutions team to provide transition management solutions for a series of upcoming mandates.

David Cox, head of listed market investments at Brunel said: “Macquarie was an excellent choice from a competitive tender process for our upcoming transitions.

“Having partnered with them extensively, they have become a trusted transition partner for our clients.”

David Goodman, head of Macquarie’s portfolio solutions business in EMEA, said: “The asset pooling currently being undertaken by the UK’s local government pension schemes is the largest movement of assets in the industry to date.

“Given the heightened market volatility we are currently seeing, we’re pleased to partner with Brunel again and help their clients navigate these increasingly uncertain times.”

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