The FT explores a new breed of corporate consolidator which is preparing to swoop on UK pensions. Last month, UK regulators gave the green light for the creation of “pension superfunds” commercially run entities capable of pooling final salary schemes from different employers and running them as one large fund.
More than 5,000 companies in the UK still sponsor traditional “defined benefit” (DB) schemes which provide a secure retirement income based on salary and length of service for over 10m members in the private sector. So-called pension superfunds would consolidate two or more existing company DB plans into a single scheme, taking over the assets and liabilities of pension plans and pooling them with others. In return for the consolidator taking over these responsibilities, the employer will typically make a lump-sum payment, and outside investors will also put money in. The superfund will then run the schemes either for decades until all the pensions have been paid, or until the scheme is financially strong enough to be passed on to an insurance company.