In line with other UK public sector pension funds undergoes an actuarial valuation every three years. The last triennial valuation of the LGPS assets and liabilities was at 31st March 2013 (see below) and the next one will be as at 31st March 2016. The results will be made available on this website as soon as they are available.

Recap of 2013 actuarial valuation

The overall result of the 2013 valuation using LGPS fund data at 31st March 2013 with a comparison for 2010 is set out below and was used to set contribution rates from 1st April 2014 to 31st March 2017.

2013 Actuarial Statement

In line with the LGPS regulations, the funds' actuarial positions are reviewed every three years. The triennial valuation results shown in the 2013 Annual Report and Accounts were based on membership data and asset values as at 31st March 2010. These valuations set the employer contribution rates for the from 1st April 2011 to 31st March 2014, and were payable during the accounting period ended 31st March 2013. The 2013 valuations, using fund data at 31st March 2013 have set the contribution rates from 1st April 2014, and have taken into consideration funding under the new benefit structure.

2013 LGPS funding level £ billion

Funding level*

2010 79%

2013 79%

Valuation chart image

£ billion

Assets

Liabilities

Deficit

2010 141.6 178.5 36.9
2013 180.5 227.3 46.8

 

It is important to note that each fund will have used different assumptions, and whilst not directly comparable accross funds, the aggregated total liabilities provides a prudent estimate for the scheme at the triennial valuation dates.

As at 31st March 2013, the total asset value of the Scheme was £181 billion, compared with £142 billion as at 31st March 2010. The liabilities totalled 227 billion in aggregate. The overall funding level was around 80%.

By way of comparison as at 31st March 2014 the funding level of the 6,316 direct benefit occupational pension schemes within the Pension Protection Fund index was 82.6% (on a insurance buyout basis, which is different from the LGPS actuarial valuation methodology). As at 31st March 2013 the University Superannuation Scheme funding level was 77%.

*See valuation 2010 and 2013 pages for fund values used in calculations

Development of LGPS funding positions during the year to 31st March 2015

There has been no valuation of the LGPS funds since 31st March 2013. As a consequence, there can be no certainty about how each LGPS funds’ assets and liabilities had developed by 31st March 2015. Nevertheless, general comments on how funding positions have developed are set out below.

On the asset side of the balance sheet, investment performance over the year varied across the funds. Investment performance, on average, broadly exceeded the actuarial assumptions set out in the 2013 valuation. The deficit contributions paid by employers into LGPS funds also had a positive impact on asset levels and funding positions.

On the liability side, the yields available on index-linked gilts continued to be a significant factor for many funds. The yields available on these instruments remained negative during the year and indeed fell further. This decrease in yield resulted in a higher assessment of the pension liabilities for many funds, although this impact was conditional on the valuation methodology being used by the funds.

Overall, the combined movements in assets and liabilities generally led to worsened funding levels and higher deficits across the LGPS funds at 31st March 2015. The actual progress made by individual funds will have been heavily influenced by a number of factors specific to them, such as contribution levels, investment performance and membership profile. Individual funds are required to monitor and report on whether their funding strategy is being achieved and do so using a range of approaches.

As part of the 2016 valuation process, LGPS funds will revisit both their funding and investment strategies to ensure that these strategies together leave them appropriately placed to meet their long-term pension obligations as they fall due.

Aggregated information

We have the following aggregated information from the annual report and audited accounts of the LGPS funds as at 31st March 2015 showing the development of the LGPS. Importantly, this notes that active membership increased and contribution payments continue to exceed benefit payments, which is consistent with the scheme remaining open to new entrants.

 

2015

2014

2013

Number of actives (000) 1,905 1,819 1,728
Number of deferred (000) 1,834 1,723 1,621
Number of pensioners (000) 1,512 1,459 1,408
Total value of assets £217bn £192bn £180bn
Net return on Investment 12.1% 5.9% 12.5%
Total contributions paid £9.6bn £8.7bn £8.3bn
Total benefits paid £9.0bn £8.6bn £8.2bn
Inflation (CPI) (change over previous 12 months to September) 1.2% 2.7% 2.2%

 

Income and Expenditure
year to 31st March 2015

Cashflow chart image

Cashflow of the Scheme (£000s)

 

2014

2014

2015

2015

 
   

In

Out

In

Out

 
Contributions 8,671,051   9,568,209    
Transfers in from other pension funds 549,662   3,017,710    
Other income 69,666   74,963    
Net Investment income 3,370,227   3,547,684    
Total income   12,660,606   16,208,566    
             
Benefits   (8,554,773)   (9,026,333)  
Payments to and on account of leavers   (518,920)   (3,263,646)  
Administration expenses   (141,263)   (182,311)  
Investment management expenses   (518,965)   (727,335)  
Total expenditure     (9,733,921)   (13,199,625)  

 

Life Expectancy Index

Hymans Robertson and Club Vita have developed an LGPS Life Expectancy Index to support the work of the LGPS Scheme Advisory Board. This Index will help support the communication of changing life expectancy in the LGPS to its scheme members. The Index will also provide the Board with longevity related information, including early warning of upwards cost pressures to support its role in the cost management process. We have relied upon data provided by Hymans Robertson and its longevity comparison club, Club Vita, when preparing the Index.

The information on this page is not specific to the circumstances of any particular reader or organisation, does not constitute advice, nor should it be relied upon by third parties. Life Expectancy Indices may also be produced by other organisations and use other sources of data.

Changes in observed longevity

The chart below demonstrates the annual progression of the LGPS Life Expectancy Index between 1993 and 2014 for male and female E&W LGPS pensioners.

Years in retirement from age 65 (1993 - 2014)

Life Expectancy Index

In this form the index clearly demonstrates how life expectancy in retirement has changed over time. It shows that life expectancy in retirement (measured from age 65) has increased from 14.4 years in 1993 to 19.1 years in 2014 for males and from 18.3 years in 1993 to 22.1 years in 2014 for females.

The average rate of increase in life expectancy has been around 2.2 years per decade for males and around 1.8 years per decade for females. Note that life expectancy does not increase uniformly over the 21 year period, while in some years it increases, in other years it is unchanged or even falls.

Was 2015 the start of a new trend?

Over the last 2 decades we have observed a significant and sustained increase in life expectancy (which a quick glance at the LGPS Life Expectancy Index can confirm). This might lead us to assume that life expectancies will continue to rise in a similar way in the future, but we need only look at the most recent experience to realise that the longevity landscape may be shifting. In particular:

  • The winter of 2012/13 followed a noticeably dull summer, and was both long and harsh. This was then followed by the coldest spring for 50 years. These factors combined help to explain the slowing in life expectancy increase observed.
  • Although not shown in the Index yet, 2015 saw significantly higher mortality than anticipated. This was not driven by climate, but rather by a particularly virulent variant of the flu virus, against which the usual vaccine was ineffective. This resulted in a significant increase in death rates in the elderly population, particularly in the first months of 2015.

A key question therefore is whether these two periods of heavier mortality simply represent volatility or a short term ‘blip’ which will shortly be reversed as a result of the remaining pensioners being made up of ‘healthier’ survivors, or are they harbingers of a new trend of slower increases in longevity compared with the 2000s?

What should LGPS Funds (and their Actuaries) do about this? If the most recent experience marks the start of a new trend, should LGPS Funds reflect this in their funding assumptions with an assumption for a slower pace of longevity improvement in the future? But, we know that death rates fluctuate from year-to-year and, as shown above, we are able to explain recent experience by reference to external events. Given this, LGPS Funds (and their Actuaries) may take a longer term view, seeking to base their funding assumptions for longevity on a broader view of how longevity has been changing rather than relying on the most recent experience alone.

In response to the question “does the 2015 experience signal the start of a new trend?” it is too early to say. If nothing else, recent experience should serve as a reminder that LGPS Funds (and their Actuaries) should continue to monitor longevity and seek to better understand the drivers of longevity change.

Methodology

The LGPS Life Expectancy Index tracks the life expectancy of E&W LGPS pensioners. The methodology ensures the index results are objective and reflect the experience of E&W LGPS members.

The index is based on period life expectancy from age 65. For each year this is a measure of how long you expect to make pension payments to an average member based on death rates in that year.

This approach to measuring life expectancy uses only observable, verifiable data (with data on circa 2/3rds of E&W LGPS pensioners used by the index) and avoids any need for subjective assumptions about how life expectancies will change in the future.

The index allows changes in life expectancy from year to year, and trends in life expectancy emerging over a number of years, to be clearly identifiable.

Reliances and Limitations

  • The life expectancy values shown in this chart have been provided by Club Vita to the Advisory Board for inclusion in the Scheme Annual Report. Whilst they can be reproduced, they should not be relied upon or used for any other purpose without the written permission of Club Vita LLP and Hymans Robertson LLP.
  • Life expectancies are based on the experience of English and Welsh LGPS Funds that have provided data to Club Vita as at December 2015.
  • The life expectancy shown for a particular year is the period life expectancy measured at age 65 - this is based on the exposure and deaths occurring during that year, so do not make any allowance for changes in longevity before or after that year.
  • To be clear, the life expectancies shown have been calculated from the crude mortality rates of E&W LGPS pensioners.
  • The life expectancy of an individual LGPS pensioner will depend on many factors, including age, gender, health, wealth, future changes in mortality, etc. and the figures shown here are not intended to represent or predict the life expectancy of any one individual member.

In line with other UK public sector pension funds undergoes an actuarial valuation every three years. The last triennial valuation of the LGPS assets and liabilities was at 31st March 2013 (see below) and the next one will be as at 31st March 2016. The results will be made available on this website as soon as they are available.

Recap of 2013 actuarial valuation

The overall result of the 2013 valuation using LGPS fund data at 31st March 2013 with a comparison for 2010 is set out below and was used to set contribution rates from 1st April 2014 to 31st March 2017.

2013 Actuarial Statement

In line with the LGPS regulations, the funds' actuarial positions are reviewed every three years. The triennial valuation results shown in the 2013 Annual Report and Accounts were based on membership data and asset values as at 31st March 2010. These valuations set the employer contribution rates for the from 1st April 2011 to 31st March 2014, and were payable during the accounting period ended 31st March 2013. The 2013 valuations, using fund data at 31st March 2013 have set the contribution rates from 1st April 2014, and have taken into consideration funding under the new benefit structure.

2013 LGPS funding level £ billion

Funding level*

2010 79%

2013 79%

Valuation chart image

£ billion

Assets

Liabilities

Deficit

2010 141.6 178.5 36.9
2013 180.5 227.3 46.8

 

It is important to note that each fund will have used different assumptions, and whilst not directly comparable accross funds, the aggregated total liabilities provides a prudent estimate for the scheme at the triennial valuation dates.

As at 31st March 2013, the total asset value of the Scheme was £181 billion, compared with £142 billion as at 31st March 2010. The liabilities totalled 227 billion in aggregate. The overall funding level was around 80%.

By way of comparison as at 31st March 2014 the funding level of the 6,316 direct benefit occupational pension schemes within the Pension Protection Fund index was 82.6% (on a insurance buyout basis, which is different from the LGPS actuarial valuation methodology). As at 31st March 2013 the University Superannuation Scheme funding level was 77%.

*See valuation 2010 and 2013 pages for fund values used in calculations

Development of LGPS funding positions during the year to 31st March 2015

There has been no valuation of the LGPS funds since 31st March 2013. As a consequence, there can be no certainty about how each LGPS funds’ assets and liabilities had developed by 31st March 2015. Nevertheless, general comments on how funding positions have developed are set out below.

On the asset side of the balance sheet, investment performance over the year varied across the funds. Investment performance, on average, broadly exceeded the actuarial assumptions set out in the 2013 valuation. The deficit contributions paid by employers into LGPS funds also had a positive impact on asset levels and funding positions.

On the liability side, the yields available on index-linked gilts continued to be a significant factor for many funds. The yields available on these instruments remained negative during the year and indeed fell further. This decrease in yield resulted in a higher assessment of the pension liabilities for many funds, although this impact was conditional on the valuation methodology being used by the funds.

Overall, the combined movements in assets and liabilities generally led to worsened funding levels and higher deficits across the LGPS funds at 31st March 2015. The actual progress made by individual funds will have been heavily influenced by a number of factors specific to them, such as contribution levels, investment performance and membership profile. Individual funds are required to monitor and report on whether their funding strategy is being achieved and do so using a range of approaches.

As part of the 2016 valuation process, LGPS funds will revisit both their funding and investment strategies to ensure that these strategies together leave them appropriately placed to meet their long-term pension obligations as they fall due.

Aggregated information

We have the following aggregated information from the annual report and audited accounts of the LGPS funds as at 31st March 2015 showing the development of the LGPS. Importantly, this notes that active membership increased and contribution payments continue to exceed benefit payments, which is consistent with the scheme remaining open to new entrants.

 

2015

2014

2013

Number of actives (000) 1,905 1,819 1,728
Number of deferred (000) 1,834 1,723 1,621
Number of pensioners (000) 1,512 1,459 1,408
Total value of assets £217bn £192bn £180bn
Net return on Investment 12.1% 5.9% 12.5%
Total contributions paid £9.6bn £8.7bn £8.3bn
Total benefits paid £9.0bn £8.6bn £8.2bn
Inflation (CPI) (change over previous 12 months to September) 1.2% 2.7% 2.2%

 

Income and Expenditure
year to 31st March 2015

Cashflow chart image

Cashflow of the Scheme (£000s)

 

2014

2014

2015

2015

 
   

In

Out

In

Out

 
Contributions 8,671,051   9,568,209    
Transfers in from other pension funds 549,662   3,017,710    
Other income 69,666   74,963    
Net Investment income 3,370,227   3,547,684    
Total income   12,660,606   16,208,566    
             
Benefits   (8,554,773)   (9,026,333)  
Payments to and on account of leavers   (518,920)   (3,263,646)  
Administration expenses   (141,263)   (182,311)  
Investment management expenses   (518,965)   (727,335)  
Total expenditure     (9,733,921)   (13,199,625)  

 

Life Expectancy Index

Hymans Robertson and Club Vita have developed an LGPS Life Expectancy Index to support the work of the LGPS Scheme Advisory Board. This Index will help support the communication of changing life expectancy in the LGPS to its scheme members. The Index will also provide the Board with longevity related information, including early warning of upwards cost pressures to support its role in the cost management process. We have relied upon data provided by Hymans Robertson and its longevity comparison club, Club Vita, when preparing the Index.

The information on this page is not specific to the circumstances of any particular reader or organisation, does not constitute advice, nor should it be relied upon by third parties. Life Expectancy Indices may also be produced by other organisations and use other sources of data.

Changes in observed longevity

The chart below demonstrates the annual progression of the LGPS Life Expectancy Index between 1993 and 2014 for male and female E&W LGPS pensioners.

Years in retirement from age 65 (1993 - 2014)

Life Expectancy Index

In this form the index clearly demonstrates how life expectancy in retirement has changed over time. It shows that life expectancy in retirement (measured from age 65) has increased from 14.4 years in 1993 to 19.1 years in 2014 for males and from 18.3 years in 1993 to 22.1 years in 2014 for females.

The average rate of increase in life expectancy has been around 2.2 years per decade for males and around 1.8 years per decade for females. Note that life expectancy does not increase uniformly over the 21 year period, while in some years it increases, in other years it is unchanged or even falls.

Was 2015 the start of a new trend?

Over the last 2 decades we have observed a significant and sustained increase in life expectancy (which a quick glance at the LGPS Life Expectancy Index can confirm). This might lead us to assume that life expectancies will continue to rise in a similar way in the future, but we need only look at the most recent experience to realise that the longevity landscape may be shifting. In particular:

  • The winter of 2012/13 followed a noticeably dull summer, and was both long and harsh. This was then followed by the coldest spring for 50 years. These factors combined help to explain the slowing in life expectancy increase observed.
  • Although not shown in the Index yet, 2015 saw significantly higher mortality than anticipated. This was not driven by climate, but rather by a particularly virulent variant of the flu virus, against which the usual vaccine was ineffective. This resulted in a significant increase in death rates in the elderly population, particularly in the first months of 2015.

A key question therefore is whether these two periods of heavier mortality simply represent volatility or a short term ‘blip’ which will shortly be reversed as a result of the remaining pensioners being made up of ‘healthier’ survivors, or are they harbingers of a new trend of slower increases in longevity compared with the 2000s?

What should LGPS Funds (and their Actuaries) do about this? If the most recent experience marks the start of a new trend, should LGPS Funds reflect this in their funding assumptions with an assumption for a slower pace of longevity improvement in the future? But, we know that death rates fluctuate from year-to-year and, as shown above, we are able to explain recent experience by reference to external events. Given this, LGPS Funds (and their Actuaries) may take a longer term view, seeking to base their funding assumptions for longevity on a broader view of how longevity has been changing rather than relying on the most recent experience alone.

In response to the question “does the 2015 experience signal the start of a new trend?” it is too early to say. If nothing else, recent experience should serve as a reminder that LGPS Funds (and their Actuaries) should continue to monitor longevity and seek to better understand the drivers of longevity change.

Methodology

The LGPS Life Expectancy Index tracks the life expectancy of E&W LGPS pensioners. The methodology ensures the index results are objective and reflect the experience of E&W LGPS members.

The index is based on period life expectancy from age 65. For each year this is a measure of how long you expect to make pension payments to an average member based on death rates in that year.

This approach to measuring life expectancy uses only observable, verifiable data (with data on circa 2/3rds of E&W LGPS pensioners used by the index) and avoids any need for subjective assumptions about how life expectancies will change in the future.

The index allows changes in life expectancy from year to year, and trends in life expectancy emerging over a number of years, to be clearly identifiable.

Reliances and Limitations

  • The life expectancy values shown in this chart have been provided by Club Vita to the Advisory Board for inclusion in the Scheme Annual Report. Whilst they can be reproduced, they should not be relied upon or used for any other purpose without the written permission of Club Vita LLP and Hymans Robertson LLP.
  • Life expectancies are based on the experience of English and Welsh LGPS Funds that have provided data to Club Vita as at December 2015.
  • The life expectancy shown for a particular year is the period life expectancy measured at age 65 - this is based on the exposure and deaths occurring during that year, so do not make any allowance for changes in longevity before or after that year.
  • To be clear, the life expectancies shown have been calculated from the crude mortality rates of E&W LGPS pensioners.
  • The life expectancy of an individual LGPS pensioner will depend on many factors, including age, gender, health, wealth, future changes in mortality, etc. and the figures shown here are not intended to represent or predict the life expectancy of any one individual member.

Appendix 1 Definition of Period expectation of life

Definition of Period Expectation of Life

Source: Office for National Statistics, “Life expectancy at age 65 by local areas in the United Kingdom, 2004-06 and 2008-10”, 19 October 2011

“Period expectation of life at a given age for an area in a given time period is an estimate of the average number of years a person of that age would survive if he or she experienced the particular area’s age-specific mortality rates for that period throughout the rest of his or her life. The figures reflect mortality among those living in an area in each time period, rather than mortality among those born in each area.” “Period life expectancy at age 65 in 2000 is worked out using the mortality rate for age 65 in 2000, for age 66 in 2000, for age 67 in 2000, and so on.” “Period life expectancies are a useful measure of mortality rates actually experienced over a given period, and for past years, provide an objective means of comparison of the trends in mortality over time, between areas of a country and between countries. Official life tables in the UK and other countries which relate to past years are generally period life tables for these reasons.”

Appendix 2 Calculation of period life expectancy

Information on calculating a longevity index

The starting point for the LGPS Life Expectancy Index is the collection of a complete and reliable record of longevity experience data for the LGPS. Club Vita currently hold up to date experience data for c. two-thirds of E&W LGPS pensioners. This is more than sufficient to produce an initial E&W LGPS Life Expectancy Index. Funds that are not currently providing data are invited to contact Club Vita if they wish their data to be represented in the LGPS Life Expectancy Index.

Once data has been collected, the calculation steps involved in producing the LGPS Life Expectancy Index are broadly as follows:

  • For a reference period (eg calendar year 2011) and a reference population (eg E&W LPGS pensioners) where data has been collated, determine the observed (“crude”) death rate at each age (65, 66, 67, etc).
  • The crude death rate at each age is simply the number of deaths at that age divided by the number of people being observed at that age. So it is an observable (objective) quantity, measuring the proportion of people that died at each age.
  • The period life expectancy from 65 can be calculated directly from the crude death rates, and is the average length of time an individual aged 65 would live for, based on those observed death rates.