ONS reveals schemes’ overseas investments and assets – Investment

On the go: The Office for National Statistics has published data on UK-funded occupational pension schemes’ overseas assets and direct investments for the first time.

Estimates for Q4 2021 revealed that 55 per cent of schemes’ overseas direct investments were in long-term debt securities, while 54 per cent of those overseas equities held were from the United States.

Some 75 per cent of direct investments in equities were overseas at the end of Q4 2021, compared with just 7 per cent of direct investment in central government bonds.

Overall, gross assets excluding derivatives rose to £ 2.8tn from £ 2.7tn between Q3 and Q4, while active membership of private sector defined contribution schemes continued to increase, rising by 200,000 from September 30 to December 31 last year.

Private sector DC membership has increased in every quarter over the entire published time series, although the ONS noted that each quarter sees fewer new DC members when compared with the inflow of deferred members.

Employee and employer contributions increased when compared with Q3. Employee contributions rose 9 per cent to more than £ 2bn, while employer contributions rose 5 per cent to around £ 4.1bn.

Where private sector defined benefit and hybrid schemes are concerned, £ 3.36bn (56 per cent) was in the form of deficit reduction contributions, which saw a modest overall increase between Q3 and Q4.

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