The total membership of the LGPS grew by 261,000 (4.2%) to 6.16m members in 2020 from 5.89m in 2019. There was an increase in each category of scheme membership contributing active members (3.1%), deferred pensioners (4.0%), and pensioners (5.7%).
The 5.7% (105,000) increase in pensioner membership between 2019 and 2020 compares with a 2.5% (43,000) increase between 2018 and 2019. The reduced increase in level of deferred membership from 2016 onwards was due in part to the reporting of undecided leavers (those with the option to transfer).
The scheme held a positive cash-flow position in 2020. Contribution income increased by £0.68m and was £0.88m lower than benefit outgoings, consistent with contribution schedules and payments made in previous years.
The total number of LGPS employers in 2020 was over 16,307 as compared with 15,597 for 2019. Further details of the scheme membership and scheme employers can be found on the membership page.
The total assets of the LGPS decreased to £276bn (change of -4.9%) during 2020. The net investment return on these assets (after fees) as at 31 March 2020 was -4.8% compared with +6.2% in 2019. The 2020 figure reflecting less stable financial market conditions than in 2018/2019.
LGPS assets were invested in pooled investment vehicles (68%), public equities (14%), bonds (6%), direct property (3%), other asset classes (9%). Between 2019 and 2020 there were relatively small changes in asset allocation resulting from differential market movements rather than cash flow, with pooled investment vehicles increasing in proportion as a result of the establishment of LGPS investment pools and negative equity returns overall.
Further details of the LGPS asset allocation and amounts directly invested in securities; bonds, equities, property (pooled and direct), plus pooled investment vehicles (PIVs) and other investment categories have been analysed and charted and can be found on the investments page. Also the LGPS investment performance such as average returns by each asset class set against relevant market indices, and in addition, the comparison against a corporate peer group can also be found on the investment page.
The Scheme Advisory Board produced a separate summary and key messages report of the 2019 triennial valuation results and have collated the 2010, 2013 and 2016 triennial valuation results for comparison. The most recent LGPS funding level for the accounting year to 31st March 2020 was 85% (2019 valuation).
Due to the timing of the annual reports and valuations, the 2016 valuation results are available (as of April 2019) and are included on these pages for reference. The 2016 valuation results were used to set contribution rates from 1st April 2017 to 31st March 2020. As at 31st March 2016, the total asset value of the Scheme was £216 billion, compared with £181 billion as at 31st March 2013. The liabilities totaled £254 billion in aggregate, and the overall funding level was around 98%. The next full triennial valuation will be in 2019 based on the scheme membership and value of assets as at 31st March 2019.
As part of the 2019 valuation process, LGPS funds will have revisited 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.
During the year, the Scheme Advisory Board has continued to develop and populate its website with news items, meeting papers and minutes, scheme guidance and other publications. Each fund has a statutory communications policy statement and the majority of funds have developed websites for the new 2014 scheme with online access for scheme members and potential scheme members, in addition to the national www.lgpsmember.org website. Hard copies of all scheme information are accessible from all of these websites.
Further information and next steps
The individual underlying annual reports and audited financial statements of each individual LGPS pension fund in England and Wales for the financial year ending 31st March 2019 (31st March 2018, 31st March 2017, 31st March 2016, 31st March 2015, 31st March 2014 and 31st March 2013) can be found in one place on this website.
The most recent triennial actuarial valuation reports of individual LGPS funds in England & Wales are as at the 31st March 2019 can also be found in one place on this website.
Going forward we intend to develop these two key information archives and continue to improve and develop this content and value to stakeholders of the overall scheme annual report each year.