RSPB closes DB scheme after deficit reaches £90m

Written by Talya Misiri

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has closed its defined benefit pension scheme as a result of its ballooning deficit.

According to RSPB’s full-year accounts published in October 2017, the DB scheme has been closed to future accruals and was closed to new members prior to this in March.

The scheme’s deficit continued to fluctuate, RSPB said, rising from £86m in 2015, to a lesser value in 2016 and then rising to £90m in 2017.

RSPB noted that its pension deficit fluctuations were “largely driven by factors outside our control”. Despite this, however, scheme assets performed well, but future liabilities rose due to a fall in long-term interest rates.

Earlier in the year, on 31 March 2017, RSPB’s DB pension scheme was closed and transferred its members to a defined contribution scheme. “This should help to reduce future risk and the volatility of pension liabilities,” RSPB’s report stated.

As a result of these changes and increasing liabilities, RSPB trustees agreed a long-term deficit recovery plan with its pension trustees to minimise the impact on its conservation work.

With this, the trustees agreed that in the “unlikely event” of RSPB being unable to meet its pension obligations, “specified land” valued at £57m would be passed to the pension fund.

The charity continues to pay into a DC scheme for its employees.

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