06 November 2023
The Pensions Regulator has approved the first ‘superfund’ pension deal between Clara and the Sears Retail Pension Scheme. This is a market first for pensions, however RSM UK says this is unlikely to trigger a wave of similar deals.
Ian Bell, head of pensions for RSM UK said: ‘This is a very specific set of circumstances given the demise of Arcadia and the potential involvement of the Pensions Protection Fund as the alternative for the Sears members. It is therefore unlikely to be the trigger for many other schemes to follow suit as the fundamental hurdle of Trustees’ fiduciary duties and ensuring that decisions are taken in the members’ best interests will remain a challenge for many. If a deal isn’t underpinned by the PPF safety net, how can trustees be confident it is a viable alternative to aiming for the traditional insurance buyout route?’
He continued: ‘I’m sure that we will hear more from the Chancellor on his Mansion House proposals in the Autumn Statement, and this deal is likely to be quoted in glowing terms as the start of the route to wider consolidation of the industry. I don’t think that there will be many Trustees that are looking at it on this basis.’