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CEO of largest UK private sector pension scheme to step down

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The chief executive of the £49.3bn (€56bn) BT Pension Scheme (BTPS), the largest UK private sector pension plan, has decided to leave.

Eileen Haughey, who joined the scheme in 2013, will be stepping down after the 2017 actuarial valuation is finished.

During her time at the scheme Haughey has overseen a period of substantial development in the management and operations of the scheme, the trustees said in a statement today.

This included the implementation of a £16bn longevity hedge in 2014 and, more recently, the in-sourcing of the scheme’s administration.

The record longevity risk deal insured 25% of BTPS’ longevity risk. The pension scheme created a wholly owned insurance company subsidiary to access the reinsurance market directly. It remains the largest single pension derisking transaction ever completed in the UK.

In December 2017 it emerged that BTPS had terminated a contract with its administrator, Accenture, in order to bring the function in-house.

Before joining BTPS, Haughey was at the pension fund of chemicals company ICI, where she was chief executive of the trustee’s secretariat and support function. Before that she was a partner at Deloitte, and also worked as head of corporate finance at Marks & Spencer for more than five years.

Haughey said: “It has been a privilege to have worked with the trustee over the last five years.  I am immensely proud what my team and I have achieved in the interests of members, and I wish the trustee, scheme members, BT and my colleagues all the best for the future”. 

Paul Spencer, chair of the trustee said: “The trustee board and I are very sorry that Eileen has decided to leave. We wish to thank her for her immense contribution to the scheme over the last five years and wish her well for the next stage of her career.” 

BTPS is the 11th largest in Europe, according to IPE’s Top 1000 Pension Funds report.

BT is seeking to make changes to its pension arrangements in order to address a large deficit in the defined benefit scheme. According to the company’s annual report for the 12 months to 31 March 2017, BTPS had a shortfall of £7.6bn. However, a funding update issued by the trustees later put the deficit at nearly £14bn as of 30 June 2016.

The sponsor has proposed closing BTPS to future accrual in April. It has also sought to change the index it uses to calculate inflation-linked pension increases, but so far has been told this was not compatible with the scheme rules. 

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  • BT logo outside its office in Sevenoaks, UK

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