IRELAND - Frank Flynn, former head of group pensions at the Bank of Ireland, has opened a pension consultancy business to share his expertise with businesses and pension funds reviewing their pensions strategies and governance.

Flynn was directly involved in pension scheme management for just 5-6 years at Bank of Ireland as much of his career was spent in human resources at the bank.

That said, the work he and his team did in that time led to some innovative developments and a subsequent IPE European Pensions Award for the creation of the hybrid DB/DC LifeBalance pension scheme - a concept now being adopted at other Irish plans as it allowed BoI to close the final salary scheme to new members but open a hybrid pension arrangement comprising a mandatory cash balance type "Retirement Capital Account"(RCA), alongside an optional defined contribution Personal Investment account with matched contributions.

Flynn left BoI earlier this year but told IPE he gained so much enjoyment from making a difference to his own firm's financial status and management he now intends to share his experience with other interested parties.

"I only came into pensions in the latter part of my career within the bank and the first half of that [pensions] time was coming to terms with pensions and grounding generally. The second half was adding value for the organisation and in that particular time I got a lot of satisfaction from the impact we were able to have in the group's pension functions," said Flynn.

"When things like IAS19 came on the scene, people started to notice the impact of pensions. The outcomes that we achieved across the range of activities in pensions encouraged me to believe it would be of benefit to other pension schemes," he continued.

More specifically, the Frank Flynn Pensions, Strategies and Governance business is being launched at a time when companies and pension plans are likely to be reviewing their existing arrangements, said Flynn, as a result of the recent credit crunch.

"There seems to be a lot of opportunity particularly in the downturn of economic conditions globally," said Flynn.

"[Companies] are looking at the spend on consultants as well as reviewing the costs of running the pension," he added.

The services Flynn intends to offer, among other things, will assist clients and make recommendation in pension strategy reviews and change management, as well as conduct governance audits, produce communications material and offer his experience as an independent trustee and pensions mediator in both mergers and acquisitions and corporate pensions restructuring.

Flynn said has already been in early discussions with a handful of parties since he created the business earlier this month and who may be interested in the new consultancy service.

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