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With equality comes additional liability

The Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that a husband (or wife) in a same-sex marriage is entitled to the same pension rights as a wife (or husband) would receive.

Stuart Price, Partner and Actuary at pensions specialist Quantum Advisory in Cardiff, says: “The ruling means that pension schemes in the UK can now no longer exclude same-sex partners and civil partnerships from a spouse’s pension accrued before December 2005. They will now be required to calculate a spouse’s pension for same-sex marriages and civil partnerships in exactly the same way as for heterosexual marriages. This not only impacts pensions coming into payment after the ruling, but schemes could also face claims from those same-sex survivors of members who have already died.

“The number of these cases that will need to be retrospectively addressed is likely to be small in the grand context of UK pensions, however, estimates are that the cost of doing so is likely to be in the region of £100m for private occupational schemes and £20m for Public Sector schemes.

“Whilst this change is long over due, the end result will be, that if impacted, UK pension schemes will yet again have additional liability they were not expecting and this will ultimately have to be paid for by the scheme’s sponsoring employer.”


Stuart Price, Partner and Actuary at Quantum Advisory