Rothesay Life appeals court annuity transfer decision

Rothesay Life has confirmed that it is appealing the decision from the High Court which blocked the transfer of a £12bn portfolio of annuities from Prudential to Rothesay Life.

It said that it is appealing on the basis that it believes the judgement contained “material errors of law” and should therefore be reconsidered.

The court halted what would have been the largest annuity transfer ever, involving nearly 400,000 policy holders, on 16 August 2019.

A Rothesay Life spokesperson said: “We can confirm that we lodged our notice of appeal with the Court of Appeal on 27 September 2019.

“We have asked the Court of Appeal to set aside the judgment and sanction the transfer.

“The appeal is unlikely to be heard for several months and the Court of Appeal will then need time to deliver its judgment. So the outcome of the appeal will not be known for some time.”

Justice Snowden initially blocked the transfer after concluding that Rothesay Life did not have the same reputation and financial stability as Prudential, which may have influenced people's decision to purchase the Prudential annuities initially.

This was despite an independent expert, that was appointed to report to the High Court, concluding that the deal would not result in “any material adverse effect on policyholders' security or benefits”.

Rothesay Life and Prudential entered into the transaction on 14 March 2018, with the firms hoping that this would be followed by an insurance business transfer.

Rothesay manages and invests over £50bn, mostly in UK assets, and recently completed the largest UK buyout ever with Telent pension scheme, worth £4.7bn.

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