IAS 19, paras 142, 146, scheme assets including insurance policy and longevity swap, asset liability matching strategy

International Consolidated Airlines Group, S.A. – Annual report – 31 December 2019

Industry: airline

30 Employee benefit obligations (extract)
d Fair value of scheme assets
A reconciliation of the opening and closing balances of the fair value of scheme assets is set out below:

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1 Includes employer contributions to APS of €5 million (2018: €111 million) and to NAPS of €816 million (2018: €582 million) of which deficit funding payments represented nil for APS (2018: €108 million) and €797 million for NAPS (2018: €509 million).

For both APS and NAPS, the Trustee has ultimate responsibility for decision making on investments matters, including the asset-liability matching strategy. The latter is a form of investing designed to match the movement in pension plan assets with the movement in the projected benefit obligation over time. The Trustees’ investment committee adopts an annual business plan which sets out investment objectives and work required to support achievement of these objectives. The committee also deals with the monitoring of performance and activities, including work on developing the strategic benchmark to improve the risk return profile of the scheme where possible, as well as having a trigger based dynamic governance process to be able to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. The investment committee reviews the existing investment restrictions, performance benchmarks and targets, as well as continuing to develop the de-risking and liability hedging portfolio.

Both schemes use derivative instruments for investment purposes and to manage exposures to financial risks, such as interest rate, foreign exchange and liquidity risks arising in the normal course of business. Exposure to interest rate risk is managed through the use of Inflation-Linked Swap contracts. Foreign exchange forward contracts are entered into to mitigate the risk of currency fluctuations.

Scheme assets held by all defined benefit schemes operated by the Group at December 31 comprise:

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All equities and bonds have quoted prices in active markets.

For APS and NAPS, the composition of the scheme assets is:

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The strategic benchmark for asset allocations differentiate between ‘return seeking assets’ and ‘liability matching assets’ depending on the maturity of each scheme. At December 31, 2019, the benchmark for NAPS was 46 per cent (2018: 49 per cent) in return seeking assets and 54 per cent (2018: 51 per cent) in liability matching investments. Bandwidths are set around these strategic benchmarks that allow for tactical asset allocation decisions, providing parameters for the Investment Committee and their investment managers to work within. APS no longer has a ‘strategic benchmark’ as instead, APS now runs off its liquidation portfolio to a liability matching portfolio of bonds and cash. The actual asset allocation for APS at December 31, 2019 was 4 per cent (2018: 8 per cent) in return seeking assets and 96 per cent (2018: 92 per cent) in liability matching investments.

APS has an insurance contract with Rothesay Life which covers 24 per cent (2018: 24 per cent) of the pensioner liabilities for an agreed list of members. The insurance contract is based on future increases to pensions in line with inflation and will match future obligations on that basis for that part of the scheme. The insurance contract can only be used to pay or fund employee benefits under the scheme. APS also has secured a longevity swap contract with Rothesay Life, which covers an additional 20 per cent (2018: 20 per cent) of the pensioner liabilities for the same members covered by the insurance contract above. The value of the contract is based on the difference between the value of the payments expected to be received under this contract and the pensions payable by the scheme under the contract. The fees are linked to LIBOR, and an assumed future LIBOR rate has been derived based on swap prices at December 31, 2019.

During 2018 the Trustee of APS secured a buy-in contract with Legal & General. The buy-in contract covers all members in receipt of pension from APS at March 31, 2018, excluding dependent children receiving a pension at that date and members in receipt of equivalent pension (EPB) only benefits, who are alive on October 1, 2018. Benefits coming into payment for retirements after March 31, 2018 are not covered. The contract covers benefits payable from October 1, 2018 onwards. The policy covers approximately 60 per cent of all benefits APS expects to pay out in future. Along with existing insurance products (the asset swap and longevity swaps with Rothesay Life), APS is now 90 per cent protected against all longevity risk and fully protected in relation to all pensions that were already being paid as at March 31, 2018. It is also more than 90 per cent protected against interest rates and inflation (on a Retail Price Index (RPI) basis).