UK – The Manchester-based Co-operative Society is creating a £2.3bn (e3.6bn) pension fund by merging two of its pension schemes.

Following the merger of the Co-operative Wholesale Society and the Co-operative Retail Society last year the society has decided to bring together the two plans in a bid to benefit from economies of scale and provide employees with a single benefit structure, says Alan Murphy, head of pensions at the Co-operative Society.

The new scheme will get around £1.8bn from the Co-operative Wholesale Society scheme and another half a billion from the retail fund. The merged pension plan, which according to Murphy will have around 70,000 members, will move into the top 50 bracket of UK pension funds.

He adds that the employees will benefit a great deal from the merger, but notes that the move will not affect the investment set-up at present: “We are simply going to bring them together as they are for the time being. The investment structure will be reviewed in due course following the next actuarial evaluation, taking place later this year,” Murphy concludes.