Chair's Statement

On behalf of the Scheme Advisory Board I am delighted to be able to present the fourth Annual Report for the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) in England and Wales. The LGPS is one of the largest defined benefit (DB) schemes in the world and is the largest DB scheme in England and Wales, with over 13,000 employers, 5.3m members and assets of £217bn.

The aim of this Annual Report is to provide a single source of information about the status of the LGPS for its members, employers, and other stakeholders. Continually improving key information about the Scheme as a whole is one of the top priorities of the Board. This report aggregates information supplied in the 91 fund annual reports, as at 31st March 2016.

To navigate the Annual Report, please use the menu to the right of this page, or the hyperlinks.

Here are some key LGPS highlights for 2016:

  • The total membership of the LGPS grew by 134,000 (2.5%) to 5.3m members in 2016 from 5.2m in 2015 and number of LGPS employers increased by 2,635 (22%) to 14,435.
  • The total assets of the LGPS held at £217bn. These assets were invested in pooled investment vehicles (43.6%), public equities (34.6%), fixed interest/index linked (7.5%), property (7.8%), as well as other asset classes (6.5%).
  • The Local Authority net return on investment over 2015/2016 was 0.1%. This was reflective of the difficult market conditions during the year and set against the FTSE All Share Total Return of -3.9%.
  • The scheme maintained a positive cash-flow position overall. Scheme income was lower than total scheme outgoings by £279m; this was excluding investment income, however.
  • The funds all received unqualified external financial audit certificates from the Scheme's external statutory auditors.
  • Over 1.5m pensioners were paid over the year. Fewer than 91 formal complaints about scheme benefit administration were determined and less than 15% were upheld by the Pensions Ombudsman. Overall the LGPS has had relatively few upheld complaints.

As at the 31st March 2016, the LGPS liabilities were estimated at £254bn indicating an overall funding level of 85%. During 2016 the Board has been actively developing proposals to further tackle the estimated funding deficit of £37bn (£47bn in 2013) to improve the sustainability of the LGPS and its future funding levels. The next triennial valuation of the LGPS will be as at 31st March 2019.

During 2014 the Board developed a suite of LGPS pension fund ‘health’ indicators. These were piloted in 2015 with the aim of rolling them out to coincide with the LGPS 2016 triennial valuation. This will enable us to assess and benchmark the overall health of the scheme relative to other large public or private pension schemes, as well as between individual LGPS funds.  The results of the pilot form part of this report and administering authorities are encouraged to complete the exercise based on their new, 2016, data.

I would be pleased to hear your views on this our fourth Annual Report (these should be sent to Liam Robson). The Board is keen to ensure we add to the Report and that the work underlying our compilation and analysis is ultimately recognised through UK, EU and global awards for excellence.

Cllr Roger Phillips

Chair of the LGPS Advisory Board
16 May 2017

Cllr Phillips