Some pertinent questions

Has a pensions cap been considered? How much for example would a cap of £50K save – applied to those who have already taken their pension and those who have yet to take it?

Can we see the actuarial assumptions that have been made to justify the changes to the scheme? For example, how many people are expected to continue paying into the existing scheme? What are the predictions for the performance of the assets in the fund in future?

What happens if the markets recover and the pension fund moves back into surplus? What happens to any surplus?

How much money did the BBC (and the licence fee payer) save when the BBC took a pensions holiday (uprated for inflation)?

It’s currently estimated that about 3.5% of the licence fee goes on pensions. If the BBC were to fund the deficit it would apparently have to rise to 10%. But that assumes that the BBC covers the entire gap. Has any thought been given to a mix of increasing BBC and individual contributions? How big would individual contributions have to be if – for example – the BBC’s contribution rose to 7%?

For most people, isn’t it true to say that they would have been better off joining the Career Average Benefits scheme when it started in 2006 than staying with the so called “final salary” scheme? In other words, haven’t those of us who stayed in the DB scheme basically been mugged?

The 2010 valuation of the pension fund shows it at its highest level ever, jumping £1.7 billion pounds on the low point of 2009 to £8.2 billion. What effect has this had on the deficit of £2 billion? According to the BBC pensions report, liabilities in 2009 were £8.5 billion (actually a small reduction on 2008). With the scheme’s valuation in 2010 back up to £8.2 billion the gap was just £300 million. Reading the detail in the report the need to slash the scheme seems to be related to a change in investment strategy; they want to move out of equities (high risk) and into bonds and gilts, which they anticipate will have lower returns. In effect they’re saying they are spooked by 2009 and want to avoid that happening again.

What happens if you leave the BBC’s pension scheme entirely? Does the pension accrued to date increase in line with inflation?


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