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Position of pension schemes improve

Rising stock markets during February helped improve the funding position of defined benefit pension schemes in the UK, according to new figures.

A Pension Protection Fund report showed that the country's 6,560 defined benefit pensions, including final salary schemes, had a collective surplus of £48.4 billion last month compared to £46.1 billion in January.

The figure was more than double the £23.7 billion surplus recorded in February 2010. It meant that the schemes had assets worth 105.2 per cent of the liabilities they faced.

A rise in UK and global equity prices was one of the driving factors behind what is a 1.3 per cent rise in the value of schemes' assets, although slightly offset by a 1.1 per cent jump in liabilities.

The value of pension scheme assets has risen by 10.5 per cent in the past year to stand at £986 billion while liabilities have increased by only 7.9 per cent in the same period.

But despite the fact that pensions collectively had a surplus at the end of last month, 56 per cent of schemes are still in the red, facing a collective deficit of £53.4 billion.

Copyright © Press Association 2011

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