The Deputy PPF Ombudsman has issued a determination rejecting a complaint by the trustees of the Hoval Limited Pension Plan regarding the calculation of the risk-based levy for 2007/08. They challenged the procedure used by Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) to gather information for assigning a failure score for the assessment of the risk-based levy, on the grounds that the information extracted by D&B’s automated system from accounts filed at Companies House did not include information in the Directors' report setting out post-balance sheet steps to improve the employer's financial standing. Had these been taken into account, the levy would have been lower.
The Ombudsman held that the levy had been calculated in accordance with the 2007/08 PPF levy determination, which did not permit the PPF to depart from D&B's failure score in relation to post-balance sheet events, and that the PPF was entitled to rely on the D&B system without requiring D&B to go further than its current automated review, commenting that such an approach would be expensive and would introduce an element of subjectivity.
This determination illustrates the difficulty of challenging the calculation of the risk-based levy: the PPF Ombudsman has rejected all complaints made so far.