KPMG defended its legal battle over pension contributions this week, after
the Court of Appeal rejected its case and effectively passed on an estimated
£58m fund deficit to the firm’s 553 partners.
The Court of Appeal dismissed KPMG’s claim that its pre-2000 pension fund was
a money purchase or defined contributions scheme.
The appeal judges upheld the High Court’s decision that it is a defined
benefits scheme and the estimated £58m deficit – accruing since 2002 – will have
to be borne by its partners, not by employees or pensioners. It was also refused
leave to appeal to the Lords.
In a statement, the firm said that its appeal was based on a ‘desire to
balance the interests of all past, present and future staff and partners’. But
it will prove highly embarrassing for KPMG, which offers audit services for
company pension schemes.
Pensioners, who brought the action, urged the firm not to appeal, claiming it
would be seen as ‘greedy’ and said they were ‘relieved’ by the judgement.
‘The decision comes after many months of uncertainty,’ said Chris Mullen of
law firm Pinsent Masons, who acted for the pensioners. ‘Since they are retired,
our clients have no ready means to make up a cut in their pensions.’
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