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Barnett Waddingham
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GMP Equalisation – what you need to know

Published by John Cormell on

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

To date GMP equalisation has primarily been carried out for schemes buying out or transferring to the PPF, with ongoing schemes deferring the exercise. 2019 could be the year that all this changes and it will be important for schemes to get ready.

GMP equalisation is a legal requirement, so why have most ongoing schemes not yet carried it out?

The main reason is uncertainty over the methodology to use and the concern that if they do it now, they may have to revisit the exercise if a different method is ultimately prescribed.

The uncertainty could be removed later this year by the Lloyds court judgement. In July 2018 Lloyds bank together with the Affinity trade union and the trustees of three Lloyds pension schemes went before the High Court seeking clarification on GMP equalisation. A ruling is expected by the end of 2018.

The court case is expected to decide whether or not GMP equalisation applies to the Lloyds schemes and what calculation method should apply. Following the ruling, industry practice may change immediately or may wait on the outcome of any appeals or further guidance from the DWP.

Brexit isn’t expected to change the legal position so this is not a reason to delay.

There may also be an opportunity to simplify your scheme through GMP conversion – more on this to follow.

How can I get my scheme ready?

GMPs should be fully reconciled with HMRC and rectified – if not, let us know and we will help.

The Lloyds court ruling is likely to affect actions by schemes in wind-up. For ongoing schemes it is likely to raise strategic questions over whether ongoing schemes should:

  • reserve for GMP equalisation in their funding basis
  • carry out a GMP equalisation exercise to adjust the benefits being administered

Schemes that do decide to proceed with a GMP equalisation exercise will need to consider:

  • what method of GMP equalisation will be best for their scheme?
  • will they also carry out GMP conversion?
  • the impact of the exercise on administration, members’ reactions, affordability of buyout, ongoing costs 

How we can help

We have carried out GMP equalisation for over 100 schemes including advising insurance companies and high profile cases such as HMV and BHS. We helped in preparing the PPF industry standard GMP equalisation report having taken a leading role in the PPF’s pilot introducing their methodology to the industry.

Our specialist GMP equalisation team will carry out GMP equalisation (and conversion if required) for you using our proprietary GMP equalisation systems. Whilst customisation for the specifics of individual schemes will be needed and the approach agreed, these types of projects lend themselves to being standardised and dealt with in a bulk, process-driven manner.

We carry out a number of roles where big data transfers and analysis is required, including cashflow generation work for a large insurer where, in less than 12 months we have dealt with a combined membership of over 575,000.

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About the authors

  • John Cormell

    John acts as Scheme Actuary to a number of his clients and is also one of the firm’s experts in guiding pension schemes through PPF Assessment Periods.

    View Biography

  • Richard Gibson

    Richard is a qualified actuary, advising pension scheme trustees and corporate sponsors on managing the risk exposure within pension arrangements.

    View Biography

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