De Beers UK Pension Scheme has completed a £850m full buy-in deal with Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC), covering the benefits of 1,464 pensioner members and 473 deferred members of the scheme.

De Beers was founded in 1888 and is the world’s leading diamond company, employing more than 20,000 people around the world.

The scheme trustees were advised by Linklaters, while PIC was advised by CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang.

Mike Page, chair of trustees for the scheme, said the buy-in is the result of many years of hard work as the scheme pursued a long-term de-risking strategy.

“I want to thank my fellow trustees and our professional advisers, Hymans Robertson, Barnett Waddingham and Linklaters for their role throughout the process in scoping and executing the transaction, which further increases the security of scheme members’ benefits,” he said.

“PIC was selected for its flexibility and ability to complete the transaction in volatile markets, as well as its overall track record, including a deep-seated commitment to customer care,” he added.

Tristan Walker-Buckton, co-head of origination at PIC, said: “PIC is proud to have worked with the trustees of the De Beers UK pension scheme to de-risk the scheme, removing the risk associated with the scheme from the company’s balance sheet, and providing security to all their members for the long term.”

He added that 2024 has started strongly in the pension risk transfer market and PIC expects another record-breaking year.

Richard Wellard, partner at Hymans Robertson, said the transaction reflects the vibrant bulk annuity market, but also the preparedness of the scheme, which is a “vital factor” in ensuring that insurers focus on a particular transaction over the many other opportunities brought to them.

Sue Foley, partner at Barnett Waddingham, said this is a “proud moment” to see the scheme transact after years of planning.

“It has been a pleasure working with the trustee board and other advisers supporting them through a complex landscape, culminating in a buy-in that secures and safeguards the futures of the members,” she noted.

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