Lloyds Banking Group has come under pressure to explain why the money it will make from changes to its pension scheme is now £300m less than it announced two months ago.
In March, the partly state-owned bank told investors that it expected to make a one-off gain of about £1bn from capping employees’ pensionable pay at existing levels.
This gain was to be reported outside of the group’s underlying results in the second quarter, and was expected to have a positive effect on the group’s capital ratios.
However, in its first-quarter results, released on Thursday, Lloyds said the changes to its defined benefit pension schemes would deliver a gain of about £700m. It did not disclose a reason for the downward revision.
“There’s no obvious explanation why the anticipated gain has fallen from about £1bn in March to £700m less than two months later,” said John Ralfe, an independent pensions consultant. “The onus is on Lloyds to explain to its investors.”
Lloyds pension changes involved staff accepting a cap on pensionable salary in return for a lump-sum payment equivalent to 3 per cent of salary.
There are about 30,000 members of the bank’s six different defined benefit schemes, which have roughly matched assets and liabilities of £30bn.
On Friday, a Lloyds Banking Group spokesman said: “The expected financial impact of this change was confirmed in our quarterly results, based on actuarial assumptions and information relating to the choices employees make as regards their pension arrangements.”