Financial health check.

The results of the actuarial valuation as at 31 March 2021 are provided below. We’ve also provided the results of the previous actuarial valuation as at 31 March 2018 so that you can see how the Scheme’s financial health has improved.

What do these results tell us?

As at 31 March 2021 the liabilities had increased to £10,006 million. Because the value of the assets increased by a larger amount in the same period to £10,693 million, there is an increased surplus of £687 million. The funding level has remained stable at 107%.

This shows that our investment strategy remains on track and the Scheme’s investments continue to grow at a similar rate to the Scheme’s liabilities.

It’s important to be aware that a surplus doesn’t mean the Scheme has more money than it needs. The value of the Scheme’s assets can go up or down over time and the assumptions used to work out the liabilities might change in the future too. But it does tell us that the Scheme is currently in a healthy financial position.

What happens next?

The Trustee will continue to target the aims of its long-term plan, gradually taking less risk with how it invests the Scheme’s assets across a careful mix of investments.

The next in-depth assessment is due to be calculated as at 31 March 2024. You can keep up to date on what happens in between with the annual Summary Funding Statement. This is posted in the news section of the site each year.

What would happen if M&S could no longer support the Scheme?

All pension schemes must give members an idea of what would happen in the unlikely event that the sponsoring employer is no longer able to support future funding.

At every actuarial valuation, the Scheme Actuary works out how much of the benefits that all members had built up would be covered by the value of the Scheme’s assets at that date. The Actuary must assume that the Trustee uses the amount it has set aside to buy members’ pensions from an insurance company. The insurance company would then take on the responsibility for paying pensions going forward.

As at 31 March 2021, the estimated cover for the benefits built up would have been around 82%. This is a lower percentage than the funding level because it costs more to buy pensions from an insurance company.

If M&S could no longer support the Scheme, it would be legally required to pay enough funds into the Scheme to secure the total amount of benefits earned with an insurance company. In the extreme situation that M&S could not pay this amount in full, the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) may be able to take over the Scheme and pay compensation to members. The compensation paid by the PPF would not be the same as the level of benefits from the Scheme. More information about the PPF is available at

Other information

The Trustee gets regular financial updates from M&S so that it can, with independent expert advice, keep a close eye on the financial health of the business. Whilst the retail industry is a challenging market, the size and cash flow of M&S give the Trustee confidence in the Company’s ability to support the pension scheme.

We must also confirm that:

  • There have not been any payments to M&S out of Scheme funds since the last Summary Funding Statement provided in 2020.
  • The Pensions Regulator has not had to intervene in the running of the Scheme.