News in brief - 12 April

KPMG Group Insurance (GI) has joined forces with Mobius Life to secure attractive buyouts for small schemes.

The partnership will help schemes who are not able to achieve competitive buyout terms from insurers. The innovation will allow schemes to “notionally” combine their collective liabilities to get to a size where they are an attractive bulk annuity position for an insurer. KPMG GI will act as the market interface, while Mobius Life will use its institutional platform to provide asset transfer services.

The Pensions Advice Taskforce has launched the Pension Transfer Gold Standard, a code of good practice to help safeguard defined benefit pension transfer advice.

Firms will be able to adopt and promote the nine principles so consumers can better understand and find good advice. The Pension Transfers Advisory Service (PASA) said the gold standard is a much-needed benchmarking tool for members. PASA DB Transfers Working Group, Margaret Snowden, said: “Administrators undertake careful due diligence to help ensure transfers are as safe as possible, but ultimately the decision lies with the member, who relies on good advice. The Gold Standard’s Consumer Guide, due to be released later this month, will provide a tool to give members confidence that their adviser has their best interests at heart.”

XPS Pension Group has launched EqualGMP, a service designed to help with the Guaranteed Minimum Pensions (GMP) equalisation.

The service is designed for trustees and in-house administrators and delivers a robust planning, preparation and implementation service. The group said, if undertaken in the right way, GMP equalisation can lead to improvements to the running of pension schemes. It will focus on improving member data, simply their wider benefits and offer the opportunity to introduce clear long-term objectives.

Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC) has invested £40m into Greatwell Homes Housing Association.

The housing association, based in Northamptonshire, will now be able to develop 600 new homes in the county. Formerly known as Wellingborough Homes, the association manages 4,500 homes in and around Northamptonshire. The investment is split across four tranches, maturing in 2053, 2057 and 2058, the drawdown will be deferred for unto three years. PIC has invested almost £1.5bn directly into social housing.

State Street Global Advisors has launched target leverage funds aimed at defined benefit pension schemes.

The fund will help DB schemes with their capital and collateral efficiency, benefits usually enjoyed by segregated mandates. The solution will comprise of eight funds including liability driven investment, leveraged equity and central collateral, providing schemes with greater flexibility and efficiency to better manage liabilities, funding level volatility and allocation growth assets.

Bulk annuity and consolidator adviser K3 Advisory has announced H&C Consulting Actuaries as its latest client.

It is the firm’s fourth client since launching in January as schemes and employers look to manage their risk in an efficient and affordable manner. K3 managing director, Adam Davis, said: “High levels of competition in the consolidation and de-risking spaces has made it crucial for consultancies to adapt, providing holistic services that funds of all sizes need, and expect. Indeed, the best placed consultancies and schemes already have these preparations well underway.” The group added that deal represented a wider momentum towards tailored services for bulk annuities.

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