PPF to 'go live' with new D&B insolvency risk scores

The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) will "go live" with new insolvency risk scores calculated by Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) as of April, with the scores set to be used for levy invoices from 2021/22.

This follows an industry consultation on the methodology used by D&B to calculate the insolvency risk scores, launched in December 2019.

The PPF’s policy paper on insolvency scoring, published today, has confirmed that the methodology on live scoring will be "broadly" in line with the consultation

PPF stated that respondents were “largely supportive” of the consultation, including D&B’s approach to the construction of financial variables and corporate linkages, with proposals to maintain the current model, subject to some improvements to address levy payer concerns, largely welcomed.

It also received positive feedback on a range of services launched in parallel with the consultation, including a new portal to view insolvency risk scores, a new levy section for the PPF website, and new ways to respond to consultations.

PPF executive director and general counsel, David Taylor, commented: “We have used feedback to help improve our services (for example, releasing new portal functionality) and will continue to do so in the future.

“We have also carefully considered suggestions for changes to our insolvency risk methodology. Points raised were typically on issues specific to individual or small groups of employers and this policy statement sets out the detailed analysis we have undertaken.”

The lifeboat has clarified that it would be postponing plans to publish the final rules for the 2021/22 levy year until December, due to the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Taylor added: “We will monitor developments carefully and consider what, if any, changes to our rules are necessary in view of these exceptional circumstances.

"We have already introduced flexibilities in relation to the submission of documents for the 2020/21 levy year, details are set out on our website."

The PPF will also be extending the normal deadline for submitting data for use in scores, allowing data published by Companies House or submitted direct to D&B to be used in April score, with retrospective adjustments to be made where necessary.

The deadline to self-submit accounts to D&B for incoproration into the first monthly score in the 2021/22 levy year will therefore be 30 April 2020.

The fund has confirmed plans for a further consultation on the PPF's proposed levy policy that does not relate to insolvency risk measurement for summer of 2020.

It is also expected to subsequently publish draft levy rules in autumn, with a further consultation on the determination and levy rules also expected at this time.

Meanwhile, PPF has urged levy payers to engage with D&B on an ongoing basis, emphasising that where levy payers have been actively checking their scores with D&B since the consultation launched, this has enabled D&B to calculate insolvency scores for the majority of employers.

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