The Purple Book is vital for helping us understand the risks we face as an organisation with obligations to our members, in an environment of significant uncertainty.

New and improved 

The design of this year’s Purple Book aims to be the most accessible it’s ever been.

For the first time, we’ve introduced an interactive feature which allows users to select their own datasets and download graphs as images. 

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The 2020 dataset reveals the aggregate funding ratio decreased over the year to 31 March 2020 from 99 per cent to 95 per cent, primarily due to market movements. The number of underfunded schemes increased and 63 per cent of schemes were in deficit with an aggregate deficit of £229 billion at 31 March 2020, compared to £160 billion in 2019. 

“The Purple Book gives us an in-depth understanding of the risks we face from the universe of schemes we protect," said Stephen Wilcox, our Chief Risk Officer. "Understanding this information helps us to model the level of we may need to absorb in years to come, and helps inform decisions on the levy we charge and our investment strategy.

“The latest edition of The Purple Book shows that DB pension schemes have continued to de-risk their investments. And while the aggregate deficit of underfunded schemes was shrinking, this has reversed due to market movements caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It also shows that the downward trend in the number of schemes and members continues to."

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“Our role is to manage funding prudently and to manage our balance sheet effectively," said our Chief Finance Officer and Chief Actuary, Lisa McCrory. "Over the last 15 years we have improved our ability to do so and our understanding of our risks. To this end, we are preparing for a complete review of our funding strategy next year, as set out in our Strategic Plan.

“Our new Long-Term Risk Model allows us to improve how we manage and approach our balance sheet risk. The assumptions we build in to our modelling work are regularly updated to reflect changes in prevailing economic conditions, including the expected impact from COVID-19 insolvencies which shows the risk from new claims has increased. However, we remain on a strong footing to continue protecting the UK DB pensions universe.”

View previous versions of The Purple Book

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