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Third purple book most comprehensive to date

Ref: PN08-30
Monday 22 December 2008

The most comprehensive picture to date of the risks faced by the UK's defined benefit pension schemes was jointly published today (Monday) by the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) and the Pensions Regulator (the regulator).

  • New Purple Book most comprehensive, covering 93 per cent of eligible schemes
  • Improved scheme returns contribute to better data and analysis
  • New chapters include information on areas such as PPF compensation
  • Existing chapters expanded to include greater detail

The data and analysis contained in The Purple Book 2008 - the third to be published - relates to 93 per cent of the defined benefit pension schemes eligible for PPF compensation (6,898 schemes ) and 97 per cent of their estimated total liabilities.

This dataset is larger than last year and reflects the better information supplied by schemes to the regulator through its improved scheme return processes.

New chapters have been added this year focusing on PPF compensation payments and risk reduction. Some existing chapters have been expanded to include more comprehensive information and detail than ever before, eg on scheme asset allocation.

PPF Chief Executive, Partha Dasgupta, said: “We now have three years worth of invaluable data which allows us to compare and monitor the risks that eligible defined benefit schemes face and the way that risk is changing over time. The more data and information on schemes there is, the better the picture we will have of the defined benefit pension scheme universe.”

The regulator's Chief Executive, Tony Hobman, added: “The release of the third Purple Book gives increased insight into the volatile nature of scheme funding. While the data reflects the risks faced by schemes up to March, the economic climate since then has clearly got a lot tougher. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.”

Editor's notes

  1. Copies of the document can be found on the PPF website at or on the regulator site at
  2. The Pensions Regulator is the regulator of work-based pension schemes in the UK, with objectives to protect members' benefits, promote good administration and reduce the risk of calls on the Pension Protection Fund. Our approach is risk-based focusing on education and enablement, with enforcement where appropriate. We have the ability to:
    1. collect information about pension schemes; through scheme returns, under the scheme funding regime and as well as statutory (including whistleblowing) reports;
    2. issue notices requiring actions to tackle non-compliance, prohibit trustees who are judged not fit and proper to carry out their duties or appoint independent trustees;
    3. direct pension schemes as to how to calculate their liabilities and the contributions required;
    4. issue a contribution notice where there is a deliberate attempt to avoid liabilities, or a financial support direction where the employer is a service company or insufficiently resourced.
  3. The Pension Protection Fund was set up under the provisions of the Pensions Act 2004 in April 2005 and is classified as a public financial corporation. It has been established to pay compensation to members of eligible defined benefit and hybrid pension schemes when there has been a qualifying insolvency event in relation to the employer, and where there are insufficient assets in the pension scheme to cover Pension Protection Fund levels of compensation.

For further press information contact:

PPF: Richard Hunt on 020 8633 5931/0789 425 5561 or Ana Moreno on 020 8633 4932/ 07961 957 480

The regulator: Simon Steers 01273 811898, Ruth Hallam 01273 627752. Out of hours 01273 648496.

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