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ABI warning: superfunds pose unacceptable risk to scheme member benefits

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has today published its response to the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) consultation on the Consolidation of Defined Benefit Pension Schemes.

In its response, the ABI suggests that allowing these so-called superfunds to operate for-profit consolidators under an untested, light-touch regulatory regime risks playing retirement roulette with scheme member benefits.

The regime would enable the private equity-backed funds to operate a lesser version of the gold-standard insurer buy-out market whilst circumventing the stringent Solvency II prudential regulation regime – creating regulatory loopholes.

The so-called superfunds that have already come to market publicly state that their intention is to only accept well-funded schemes. The proposals therefore seemingly only help employers to walk away from their obligations to their employees on the cheap, rather than addressing the need to help under-funded schemes.

Commenting on their consultation response, the ABI’s Director of Long-Terms Savings and Protection, Yvonne Braun, said:

“These plans would lower the chance that millions of people will get their full pension at retirement, effectively putting them into a game of retirement roulette. They do nothing for those in the most poorly funded employer pension schemes, which was one of the key objectives of the original policy.

"In fact, they now only seem to help otherwise solvent employers who want to offload their pension liabilities on the cheap, and so-called superfunds, while creating huge uncertainty for millions of employees. The plans would also privatise gains with the superfunds and their shareholders and socialise losses, as failing superfunds would fall into the pension lifeboat. The plans need an urgent rethink.”

Find out more here. 




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Last updated 08/02/2019