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UK’s social housing fund mulls career-average

UK – The £1.7bn (€2.5bn) Social Housing Pension Scheme has put forward a set of proposals, including a move to career-average pensions, as it seeks to contend with being just 85% funded.

The SHPS is the industry scheme for the social housing sector and has more than 700 participating employers.

There are three options on the table, said Stephen Nichols, deputy chief executive of scheme administrator The Pensions Trust. He told IPE these included remaining with the current 1/60th accrual rate, shift to a 1/70th rate or move to a career-average salary arrangement.

The initiative was a response “to the many challenges currently facing occupational pension schemes”.

He said the scheme’s 100 largest employer members had been consulted and that more than 90% of them wanted choice. But he reckoned that most would likely stay where they are.

The fund, which has just under 48,000 employee members, is currently undergoing valuation, he added.

Any changes to the benefits structure could also entail a new look at SHPS’ investment strategy, which was itself revised around a year ago.

A statement said the SHPS Pensions Committee is “determined to ensure that SHPS continues to offer its members attractive benefits in today’s pensions environment”.

Responses to the consultation are due by February 28, with any changes coming in from April 2007.

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