Defined BenefitJun 14 2019

DB master trust in talks with 21 schemes

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DB master trust in talks with 21 schemes

TPT Retirement Solutions is in discussions with 21 final salary schemes which are considering joining its defined benefit master trust, it has said.

This comes after the debate on consolidation in this sector sparked pension funds' interest.

Paul Murphy, TPT’s head of business development and strategy, told FTAdviser the schemes represent about £2bn and almost 24,000 members, and are from industry sectors such as manufacturing, logistics, hospitality and retail.

He said: "There's a strong resonance amongst the building societies, cooperatives and other mutuals, other not-for-profit organisations such as ourselves.

"However, we have been pleasantly surprised by the number of for-profit organisations from other sectors."

TPT caters for 300,000 members and has assets under management worth more than £10bn.

Its DB master trust combines administration, trusteeship, actuarial, legal, investment services, scheme accounting, covenant assessment and member communications to schemes, but maintains the employment link with the sponsor employer.

Mr Murphy said the consolidator was also in the process of onboarding three new pension funds – a financial mutual, a building society and a freight company scheme.

Earlier this month, TPR announced that Coventry Building Society, UK’s second largest building society, transferred its £220m DB scheme – with some 1,800 members including more than 600 pensioners – to its master trust.

Mr Murphy said interest in the consolidator’s offer has increased in the past 12 months, in part due to new initiatives being developed in this area.

DB consolidation has been on the government's agenda, with the department for Work and Pensions publishing a consultation paper in December, which closed in February.

The consultation followed a DB white paper published in March 2018, in which the government revealed plans to promote consolidation in the DB pension market, in which two thirds of the 5,600 schemes have funding shortfalls.

The creation of two superfunds followed.

The Pension Superfund was created in March but has already seen a reshuffle of its leadership team after CEO Alan Rubenstein, and one of its main investors, Warburg Pincus, announced their departure

In the meantime the consolidator has reached an agreement on its first transaction.

Clara Pensions – which will focus solely on fully-funded schemes and target smaller pension funds – received funding in December and is in discussions with dozens of pension funds on future deals.

Mr Murphy said: "Interest has been led by consolidation in a way, we have these new initiatives from commercial consolidators to thank because they've created a fair amount of noise, unfortunately without any real substance, which has benefited us enormously."

He noted that finance directors and trustees were looking at their own schemes to see whether there are alternatives in the marketplace.