Shoe Zone Group Pension Scheme completes £34m buy-in

The Shoe Zone Group Pension Scheme has secured a £34m buy-in with Rothesay, covering the benefits of over 500 members, including 367 pensioners and dependents and 166 deferred members.

The buy-in, which required no contribution form the sponsoring employers, followed two previous de-risking transactions, with Alico in 2008 and MetLife in 2011.

However, Rothesay now secures all of the scheme’s liabilities, having acquired MetLife’s UK bulk annuity business in 2014.

The lead broker on the transaction was Barnett Waddingham, acting for the scheme on behalf of the trustee. The scheme’s assets, meanwhile, were managed by Fiduciary Manager SEI and legal advice was provided to the scheme by Freeths and to Rothesay by Travers Smith.

Commenting on the deal, Freeths director, Nigel Jones, stated: “We are very pleased to have supported the trustee and scheme in its de-risking journey.

"The project was achieved in an ambitious timeframe and also ‘rolled up’ ancillary matters arising from earlier de-risking transactions to standardise terms and provide a clearer path to buyout.”

Barnett Waddingham partner, Simon Bramwell, also emphasised the "great team effort from all involved", in particular noting that Rothesay demonstrated "real flexibility and willingness in helping us achieve this outcome in a busy and demanding marketplace".

Adding to this, trustee chair and Western Pension Solutions director, Jon Sharp, commented: “We are delighted to have partnered with Rothesay to complete this key step on our de-risking journey.

"Our advisers have been working exclusively with Rothesay to provide long-term security and financial certainty for all members.”

Rothesay business development, Katie Overton, added: “We are very pleased to now provide security for all members of the scheme, supporting a long-term client to conclude this part of their de risking journey.

“The bulk annuity market remains buoyant, with very positive momentum in the first couple of months of the year. Rothesay’s strong capital position along with its agile and focused approach means we are well-placed to help schemes provide pension security for their members in this very busy market.”

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