FT. The gilt market rout that forced UK pension funds to rapidly sell assets in September contributed to driving down the value of retirement schemes by as much as £500 bn, MPs were told on Wednesday.
Giving evidence to the Commons’ work and pensions select committee, Iain Clacher, a professor at Leeds University Business School, said based on his calculations “roughly £500bn is probably missing somewhere”.
“And this isn’t a paper loss,” he added. “This is a real loss because pension funds were selling assets to meet the collateral calls.”
Thousands of corporate pension plans had to raise cash to meet urgent calls on so-called liability-driven investing (LDI) strategies as gilt yields shot up following the government’s bungled “mini” Budget.
Clacher said total scheme asset values had fallen by about £soobn since the start of this year, with the sell-off during the gilt crisis being the major factor. At the start of 2022, total defined benefit scheme assets stood at about £1.8tn.
“Nobody knows exactly how much was sold [in September], but turnover figures would suggest between £150bn and £200bn of gilts,” he said following the committee hearing. “Illiquid assets were also reportedly sold, for which we have no values now.”