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New enhanced data from TPR gives overview of DB landscape

Ref: PN24-07

Issued: Tuesday 20 February 2024

New data from The Pensions Regulator (TPR) shows 4% of defined benefit (DB) pension schemes, with a combined membership of 1.2 million savers, remained open to new members in 2023. A further 20%, with total membership of 2.7 million, remained open to future accrual for their existing members.

Seven in ten (72%) schemes were closed to future accrual and the remaining 4% of schemes were in the process of winding up.

TPR’s annual DB Landscape publication provides an overview of the occupational DB and hybrid pension landscape in the UK, reporting on scheme status, membership levels and assets under management.

As part of an ongoing programme of improvement, TPR has enhanced its methodology with heightened validation of the data it receives from its annual scheme return. These improvements have resulted in revisions to scheme status statistics which better reflect the current DB landscape.

Today’s DB Landscape for 2023 shows scheme funding levels improved since 2022. The number of schemes with 100% or greater *technical provision funding levels increased from 2,565 to 3,620. And the total deficit (of schemes in deficit) has more than halved, reducing from £63 billion to £28 billion.

As in previous years, the DB landscape continues to shrink. Since 2022, the total number of schemes reduced by 2%, from 5,378 to 5,297.

TPR’s Interim Director of Regulatory Policy, Analysis and Advice, Lou Davey said: “Today’s report gives an important overview of the DB landscape, which has more than 9.6 million memberships. Changes in scheme status have been small year-on-year but the trend of a contracting market continues.

“This year, we have reviewed how data for this annual report is gathered and analysed, resulting in notable changes to some of its figures. Historical data for the report has also been reviewed and, where necessary, revised.

“As a data-focused and digitally-enabled regulator, we are reviewing how we collect, analyse and provide information. This data informs our approach and continues to underline the importance of schemes having long-term plans in place as they mature.” 

Data for the report is given to TPR by trustees and administrators in their scheme’s annual scheme return. As part of this year’s scheme return exercise, TPR is asking that trustee and administrators carefully review and update their scheme status to ensure it aligns with scheme status definitions. Further information is available on the Exchange section of TPR’s website.

Notes for editors

* Statistics for technical provisions funding levels cover 94% of the entire private scheme population. Schemes excluded are not required to submit a technical provisions funding valuation as they meet one of the follow criteria:

  • in the process of winding up
  • not yet being liable to submit a Part 3 valuation
  • data required for funding calculations is missing

The data used to produce our official statistics is collected from all occupational DB and hybrid schemes, through TPR’s DB and hybrid scheme returns. This report uses data held by TPR as of 31st March 2023. Schemes are required to submit their returns by 31 March annually.

TPR is the regulator of workplace trust-based pension schemes in the UK. Our statutory objectives are to:

  • protect members’ benefits 
  • reduce the risk of calls on the Pension Protection Fund
  • promote, and to improve understanding of, the good administration of work-based pension schemes
  • maximise employer compliance with automatic enrolment duties
  • minimise any adverse impact on the sustainable growth of an employer (in relation to the exercise of the regulator’s functions under Part 3 of the Pensions Act 2004 only)

Press contacts

David Morley

Media Officer (DB)
01273 662091

Matt Adams

Senior Media and Parliamentary Manager
01273 662086

Out of hours

This is for journalists only with a media enquiry. The below number will divert to our on call media officer.
01273 648496

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