Littlewoods Pension Scheme secures £930m buy-in with Rothesay Life

The Littlewoods Pension Scheme has completed a buy-in deal worth just under £930m with Rothesay Life, covering 6,454 members.

Those covered by the deal were the remaining uninsured scheme members, after the scheme completed a £880m buy-in with Scottish Widows in 2018.

Rothesay Life said that the scheme, which is now sponsored by The Very Group, has already benefited from a de-risked funding position following the 2018 transaction and had been an early mover to hedge its interest rates and inflation methods.

It therefore saw the scheme as being in the “ideal position” to take advantage of attractive pricing opportunities, which were partially caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

LCP advised the trustees on the planning, structuring, and negotiation of the buy-in, while Arc Pensions Law provided them with legal advice.

The trustees were advised by Mercer as the scheme actuary and administrator, and Willis Towers Watson acted as investment consultant.

Gowling WLG provided legal advice to Rothesay Life.

Littlewoods Pension Scheme chairman of the trustees, Colin Thwaite, commented: “I am delighted that, through this transaction with Rothesay Life, we have further secured the pension benefits for all our members.

“Guaranteeing our pension obligations has been our long-term goal and it is a testament to the quality of our advisers and the longstanding support and collaboration with The Very Group and its shareholders that we could secure this transaction in the current market.”

As a lot of the transaction process was undertaken during lockdown, much of the deal was agreed while working remotely and in volatile asset markets.

The trustees placed particular importance on the negotiated price lock, which acted to protect the scheme against further movements in the market.

Rothesay Life head of business development, Sammy Cooper-Smith, added: “The trustees have been in close contact with the marketplace for a number of years, keeping us informed of progress on their de-risking journey.

“This has kept this scheme at the forefront of the market, which has enabled the trustees to secure the benefits at an opportune time from a funding perspective.”

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