Company pensions back in the black

PRIVATE sector final salary pension schemes have moved into the black for the first time in almost two years on the back of rising equity markets and changing liability calculations.

The 7,400 pension schemes run by UK companies had a combined surplus of £300m at the end of last month, up from a hole of £15bn in February and a gargantuan deficit of £242bn a year ago. However, despite the overall improvement two thirds of schemes are still in the red, with just a third in positive territory.

Among those continuing to see serious problems are British Airways and Readers Digest.

The Pension Protection Fund, which released the figures, said: “Total scheme assets amounted to £915.4bn in March 2010, an increase of 3.9 per cent over the month.”