Church Workers Pension Fund completes £160m buy-in with Aviva

The Church Workers Pension Fund has completed a £160m buy-in with Aviva, covering 2,400 pensioner members’ defined benefit (DB) liabilities.

The trustee noted it had placed an emphasis on environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations and robust investment processes when selecting an insurer.

Aviva’s demonstration of “thorough integration of sustainability criteria” when deciding where to invest capital was a driving factor in the trustee selecting it as the insurer.

Furthermore, both the scheme and the insurer saw active engagement as a “key element” of stewardship, with Aviva stating that is had an “extensive track record” of using its position to encourage companies it invests in to consider the long-term impact of their business decisions.

The trustee was independently advised throughout the process by LCP.

Commenting on the announcement, Church of England Pensions Board chair, Clive Mather, said: “The buy-in is good news for employers, members and the pensions board in reducing risk for all of us, and helping to secure the pensions of those who have given so much to the church.

“This transaction is made possible by excellent returns on investments in recent years, and the continued support of the employers. I am delighted we have secured this agreement with Aviva, a long-standing pension provider and responsible investor.”

Aviva head of bulk purchase annuity origination, Jamie Cole, added: “We’re delighted that the trustee of the Church Workers Pension Fund selected Aviva to secure member benefits.

“This has been a very smooth process run by a well prepared and well-advised scheme. The trustees put ESG and responsible investing at the heart of their decision making and so we are proud to be working with the Church of England Pensions Board, given that this is a key pillar of Aviva’s purpose.”

LCP partner, David Salter, concluded: “We are delighted to have been able to help the pension board in securing this buy-in with Aviva.

“Insuring all pensioner members within the DB section represents an important step in providing additional security to members of the fund.

“This transaction shows the increased focus from pension schemes on ESG issues as part of buy-in transactions which we welcome as an important development.”

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