A study of FTSE 100 defined benefit pension risk by Cardano and Lincoln Pensions. The Worry Index considers defined benefit (DB) pension scheme risk as part of an Integrated Risk Management (IRM) approach as advocated by the Pensions Regulator.


When it comes to providing retirement income for millions of people, we believe it is essential to think about what could go wrong and to take steps to minimise both the risk and impact of such events.

The Worry Index is our analysis of the overall health of FTSE 100 defined benefit pension schemes and their ability to meet their pensions promises to members. It’s our version of a stress test for pension schemes. We bring together information on funding, investment strategy and covenant, to provide in a single measure on the state of FTSE 100 DB pension schemes from an Integrated Risk Management (IRM) perspective.

The Worry Index warns companies and trustees that they must plan more effectively for the worst scenarios and implement tools to seek to avoid them.

In our analysis this year, we focused on the FTSE 100 and FTSE 350 retailers. Download the report to read our findings.
If a company is in the worry zone it means that, during times of stress, a third of all profits would have to be directed towards plugging the pension gap and cannot be either reinvested in the company or paid out to shareholders.

That is a significant financial commitment for a company and it means that if they can’t afford to pay it, they could either eventually go bust, or their employees lose their pensions. That’s potentially hundreds of thousands of people losing their retirement income.
Kerrin Rosenberg, CEO,
Cardano UK


Our Methodology

The Worry Index combines, in one single metric, the three fundamental risks facing a defined benefit pension scheme – funding risk, investment risk and covenant risk.

For each FTSE 100 company and FTSE 350 retailer, we calculated a Worry Score, which is the ratio of the size of the deficit to the value of the company in a stress scenario.

We also analysed the value of the companies standing behind the pension scheme and how this changes in a stress scenario, by applying a set of consistent stress assumptions to both the schemes and their sponsors at the same time.


irm made simple guide
The IRM Made Simple Guide is co-written with the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA).

It explains the concept of integrated risk management (IRM) and highlights effective implementation options to help trustees and sponsors achieve their objectives together.
Give us a clue 2
Give us a clue 2 is a study of FTSE 350 companies and the extent of accounting disclosures they made.

The report highlights greater transparency is still needed around corporate accounting disclosures of defined benefit risk.