Retailing giant Arcadia Group – which owned shops such as Topshop and Miss Selfridge and went into administration in December 2020 – has completed a buy-in transaction with Aviva to insure £850m (€956m) of pension liabilities of 8,800 members of the Arcadia Group and Arcadia Group Senior Executive Pension Schemes.

The schemes entered a Pension Protection Fund (PPF) assessment period on 30 November 2020 and Barnett Waddingham was appointed to provide administration, actuarial, risk transfer and investment services.

Aviva was selected following an insurance market review, and a competitive and comprehensive selection process. The first important milestone of the deal, securing buy-ins with Aviva, was completed on 3 February.

Members of the Arcadia Group Pension Scheme will receive the full scheme benefits they would have been entitled to if the insolvency and PPF assessment period had not taken place, according to Barnet Waddingham.

For the Arcadia Group Senior Executive Pension Scheme, pensions have been secured at the level they would have been in 2022 if the insolvency and PPF assessment period had not happened, it said.

Further work is being carried out to determine the future level of pension increases for members of the senior executives scheme and members will soon be updated, the consultancy added.

Rosie Fantom, risk transfer partner at Barnett Waddingham, said: “In the wake of increasing interest rates, the risk transfer market is busier than ever with excellent opportunities for schemes and sponsors to secure liabilities.”

She added: “We look forward to leading other schemes to complete transactions, particularly for schemes in similar positions through our role on the PPF+ transaction advisory panel.”

Dan Collins, relationship manager at the PPF, said: “Our role is to provide reassurance and support to the members of the schemes we protect at a worrying time, and it is great to see such a positive outcome. Arcadia members can be assured of our continued support throughout this transition phase.”

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