Now Pensions caused losses for Danish savers - ATP interim CEO

Danish pension provider ATP, which recently announced its sale of UK pension fund Now Pensions, said the eight-year investment has led to unsatisfactory returns and losses for its members.

Now Pensions, which has 1.7 million members, was sold to Anglo-Dutch Cardano Group following years of deficits, losing €18.9m in 2016 and €16m in 2017.

In an interview with FinansWatch, ATP’s interim CEO Bo Foged said the sales process began before Christmas, and that it was Cardano Group which had actively approached ATP.

The CEO has previously said the sale is going forward because the market has matured, and Now Pensions is entering an asset growth phase. In the interview, Foged said the British investment bet has been unsatisfactory, ending in a loss for Danish pension savers.

“We tried to find gold in a silver mine – but we can't do that in the UK either, it is not easier to win when you play away from home as opposed to when you play on home ground,” he said.

Commenting on whether the Now Pensions experience has negatively affected ATP’s similar investment adventures, Foged said: “We look at the strategy and not the specific investments. We know that when we make investments, some of them are lucrative and some are not.

“So even if we try to generate a positive return on all our investments, it should come as no surprise. So it's not the specific case that determines that – it is the strategy.”

The total figures in the deal remain undisclosed. "This type of transaction is not publicly disclosed for competitive reasons. In this case, Cardano may intend to invest further in the market," he told FinansWatch, and admitted that ATP won't leave the UK with a profit.

Foged previously said that in view of ATP's continued strategic focus on simplification and consolidation, the provider found this to be the right time to exit the investment and “sell the company to a new and dedicated owner who will take the company into the next phase of development in the English market”.

Commenting on the acquisition, Cardano co-CEOs, Theo Kocken and Michaël De Lathauwer said: “Bringing Cardano and Now Pensions together is transformational for our group. It is an investment in the future of UK pensions, enabling us to grow and diversify our client base. We believe our combination of pensions risk management and investment skills, together with Now Pensions’ enormous potential creates a ‘new force’ across the UK pensions landscape.”

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