Some press reports of the recent announcements:
Church Times last week had: C of E faces new £36-million pensions squeeze
Church of England Newspaper this week has a feature article by Bishop John Packer Facing up to the pensions crisis.
The Church of England website has, in addition to the documents linked here previously has more items:
An article designed for parish magazines, which can be downloaded as an RTF file, or read here below the fold.
The Powerpoint slides used at the General Synod presentation in February can be downloaded.
You can listen to the audio recording of that presentation here.
If you want to know more about how the clergy pension scheme works from the member’s viewpoint, you need to download as a PDF the booklet Your Pension Questions Answered . Other material is available from the links on the right hand side of this page.
Article for use by parish magazines
By Shaun Farrell, Secretary, the Church of England Pensions Board
In common with private companies and public bodies, the Church of England is reviewing its pensions policy. No decisions have been taken and none will be taken until the General Synod debates them and that will not be before next year.
Like all other defined benefit pension schemes, the Church’s pension schemes are under pressure. They are being squeezed because of the long-term reduction in returns from investments, and the increasing life expectancy of members. On top of that, new Government regulations designed to make pension schemes more secure for their members are also likely to increase the cost of the Church’s schemes.
The new regulations and code of practice result from the Pensions Act 2004 and substantially change the way in which schemes have to assess their assets and liabilities. They require pensions funds to take a more cautious view of likely investment returns and to adopt an investment policy that attempts to reduce risk still further. They also stipulate that deficits in pensions funds should be made good more quickly than before.
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York set up a task group to look at the impact on pensions. Its report sets out the issues facing the Church and starts a wide consultation ahead of any decisions. The report is published in full on the Church of England’s website, www.cofe.anglican.org, with a link, Pensions update, to all the relevant documents.
The key questions tabled by the task group were:
The report, which has been circulated to a wide range of church bodies, foresees a six-month consultation process within dioceses starting some time after Easter and a report to General Synod on options in February 2007. The consultation comes in advance of the statutory three-yearly valuation of the clergy pensions scheme as at December 2006.
* Parochial clergy are currently paid an annual stipend of around £19,000 and have the use of a house provided by the Church. The current pension, payable at 65 to those with 37 years’ full-time service, is £11,686, plus a lump sum of three times the pension on retirement. Retired clergy provide their own accommodation, while the Pensions Board provides some assistance for those with limited resources.