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Home > Role of the Actuary

13.0 Introduction

This section confirms the role of the Scheme Actuary. It covers:


the production of actuarial valuations


accounting for costs in company accounts


actuarial factors used by schemes


actuarial certificates, and 

•  the financial reporting of assets and liabilities in company financial statements.


An actuary is always required for a Defined Benefit (final salary) scheme due to the way benefits are funded, but is not required to be appointed to Defined Contribution schemes. Trustees alone are responsible for appointing the scheme actuary.

Much of the role of the scheme actuary is a statutory one including – supplying certificates; certifying the scheme’s solvency position; and signing schedules of contributions after signing actuarial valuations and annual actuarial reports.

The scheme actuary cannot be a trustee of the scheme but has to be kept in close touch with any changes to assets and liabilities in order to avoid irregularities occurring in the funding of scheme benefits and affecting the scheme’s financial framework.

Trustees of salary-related schemes have to appoint a named person as scheme actuary.

The scheme actuary has a duty in law to give a written report to The Pensions Regulator where, in his or her opinion, the trustees, company or any professional adviser in connection with the scheme is failing to comply with any duty required of them by law and where the failure is likely to be of material significance to The Pensions Regulator.

‘Material significance’ is interpreted as something that could immediately or potentially constitute a significant risk to the security of scheme assets or have a significant detrimental impact on members’ benefits. [See 24.8]

‘Actuarial advice’ need not necessarily come from the scheme’s actuary but trustees should first check whether any actuarial advice they need should come from the scheme’s actuary. If your own scheme is in any doubt about from whom it should obtain its actuarial advice, the actuarial profession has a definition of ‘actuarial advice’. This is obtainable from the actuarial profession should it be needed.

The actuarial report required annually is different to an actuarial valuation. The former confines itself to developments or changes affecting the funding of the scheme’s ‘technical provisions’ since the last actuarial valuation. The latter values assets and liabilities. Annual actuarial reports are automatically required where the interval between valuations is greater than one year.

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