Companies face having to add billions of pounds to their pensions liabilities under plans to be unveiled by the regulator to force them to use more realistic projections of how long workers will live after they retire.
The standard the Pensions Regulator is to propose next week is tougher than that used by 99.5 per cent of UK schemes and will increase stated liabilities for companies by 6 to 8 per cent, even for those already adopting the most prudent standard now in use. For roughly a third of all schemes, the increase in disclosed liabilities will be as much as 15 to 20 per cent and could force them to set aside more cash to fill shortfalls.
In general terms, the proposed standard for those retiring today at 65 assumes that men – the overwhelming majority of those in final salary schemes – will live to at least age 89, roughly two years longer than the presumption in more than half of current UK company schemes. Every additional year of life expectancy increases liabilities by 3 to 4 per cent.