The PPF has recently highlighted the benefits of contingency planning and member communications and that 90 percent of schemes entering the PPF are not fully prepared.

We see merit in these recommendations and that areas of focus include:

- reviewing the deed and rules in the context of the PPF regulations, to have real clarity on what benefits would be payable;

- reviewing member data and benefit specification (including for equalisation), key for both the PPF and for buy ins and buy outs.

The merit in contingency planning on a proactive basis is brought to the fore by the speed with which fundamental changes in employer covenant may occur. Where these changes take place, discussions between the employer and scheme are likely to benefit from a clear view of the position of the scheme and the benefits due to be paid under it.

A second area for trustees and employers to consider is engagement with the PPF at an early stage, especially where there are key decisions to be made as to the future of an employer.

It may be that some employers and trustees believe that they should only involve the PPF at the end of negotiations and if insolvency is unavoidable. However there can be merit in considering earlier involvement with the PPF in order to incorporate input from the PPF into potential solutions. Whilst each case needs to be considered on its facts, there can be situations where early involvement of the PPF gives rise to a wider range of options for all and the potential for better outcomes then otherwise. Likewise employers and trustees may also consider early engagement with the Pensions Regulator.