PwC administrators called to charity as its pension deficit rises

by Taha Lokhandwala

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21 Nov 2012

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PWC ADMINISTRATORS have been called to charity People Can as a substantial increase in its pension deficit contributions became unsustainable.

Ian Oakley-Smith, David Hurst and Karen Dukes, of PwC, were appointed joint administrators of People Can, previously known as the Novas Scarman Group on 19 November 2012, reports Accountancy Age's sister publication Professional Pensions.

The charity has more than 250 staff and volunteers supporting communities and individuals who have experienced homelessness and domestic abuse, as well as providing rehabilitation for ex-offenders with programmes across the UK.

The scheme deficit stood at £17m, having risen significantly from £11m earlier this year.

It was part of a multi-employer defined benefit scheme which remains open, ensuring current benefits will not be affected.

PwC said the charity could no longer meet its obligations as adverse movements in markets had affected the size of pension obligations for all employers.

PwC director and head of charity advisory services Ian Oakley-Smith said charities were facing a tough environment to secure funding.

He added: "The pressures are exacerbated for those charities with defined benefit pension schemes which require further funding.

"In these instances, some trustees are facing an increasingly difficult task in balancing their obligations to their beneficiaries and former employees."

PwC partner and head of pension credit advisory services Jonathon Land said the historically low gilt yields and poor returns created significant pressures, especially when the size of the scheme is large in relation to the charity.

He added: "The charity's significant pension liabilities dated back many years to its previous role as a registered social landlord. A range of restructuring options were explored – however, a deal could not be reached that worked for all stakeholders." 

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