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UK roundup: Reading and Oxford Unis, Mercury Provident, EMAP, Inchcape

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  • UK roundup: Reading and Oxford Unis, Mercury Provident, EMAP, Inchcape

UK - The universities of Reading and Oxford are seeking actuarial services and an administration system for their respective pension schemes. Elsewhere, Pension Insurance Corporation has completed a full buyout for the Inchcape Shipping Services pension fund, EMAP has completed its wind-up and trustees of Mercury Provident have reappointed its pension adviser.

The University of Oxford is inviting tenders for the provision of a new pensions administration system to replace the existing arrangements.

It noted that any new system proposed - either as a stand alone scheme or part of a wider HR or payroll system - must be capable of dealing with the multiplicity of schemes and arrangements.

The university currently participates in three principal pension schemes - the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), the University of Oxford Staff Pension Scheme (OSPS) and the National Health Service Pension Scheme (NHSPS).

However, it stated that the new system should also be able to "assimilate, for example, any new arrangements such as the national pension savings scheme [NEST] and other schemes which may or may not be developed by the university". However, a statement on the University's website noted that it has "no plans to move away from the provision of final salary pension arrangements for its employees". 

The closing date for the tender is 10 February 2010.

The University of Reading is seeking a provider of actuarial services for its pension scheme for non-academic staff.

It is tendering a four-year actuarial contract for its £81m (€94m) University of Reading Employees' Pension Fund (UEPF). This follows an earlier search for a pension adviser for the same scheme. (See earlier IPE article: UK roundup - Dumfries, Reading University, Wirral, DSG)

The deadline for submissions is 11 February 2010.

Elsewhere, the £12m multi-employer Mercury Provident Pension Scheme has reappointed HamishWilson to the role of scheme actuary and consultant to the fund.

Chris Wilson, chair of trustees of Mercury Provident, said: "Good governance requires us to review all our suppliers periodically as a matter of course.  We are very pleased to be continuing our relationship with the team at HamishWilson.  We have chosen to work with them again for a number of reasons, not least because we believe they have the skills, experience and disciplines to help us, and ultimately our 700 members, most efficiently."

The EMAP Earnings Related Pension Plan has completed the wind-up process two years after the plan's liabilities were bought out with Paternoster. (See earlier IPE article: Emap transfers pensions to Paternoster)

Capita Hartshead, whose discontinuance team worked with the pension trustees and Paternoster to complete the process, said the scheme was an exceptionally complex one, as it comprised 30 different sections..

It also described the buyout of liabilities by Paternoster was "groundbreaking" as the insurance firm had taken on the full financial responsibility for members' benefits before data validation, member tracing and GMP reconciliation exercises had been completed.

At the time of the transfer to Paternoster, the pension plan had a total of 1,450 members all of whom were either pensioners or had deferred benefits. Following the wind-up process, the benefits of all remaining members have now been secured using individual annuity contracts with Paternoster.

Russell Hole, a former trustee of the EMAP Plan said: "Without proactive and positive input from the Capita Hartshead team, led by Gary Graham, this process would have taken a great deal longer. Their in-depth knowledge and high degree of professionalism, supported by state-of-the art technology, made the wind-up go very smoothly."

Marine services provider Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS) has completed a buyout of its pension scheme with Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC).

The deal relates to £15m of pension liabilities and is the first buyout of a scheme since early 2009 when PIC completed buyout deals with Leyland DAF and Food From Britain. Over the past year there has instead been greater interest in buy-ins - where the insurance contract is held as an asset of the scheme - including the £500m Cadbury pension fund deal secured by PIC in December 2009. (See earlier IPE articles: PensCorp to deliver Leland DAF buyout and Cadbury completes £500m buy-in with PIC)

John Horrocks, chairman of the ISS Trustees, said: "We are very pleased to have completed this pension insurance buyout with PIC. The ongoing security of our members' pensions is of the utmost importance to us as trustees and we believe that PIC will provide that security for the long-term."

If you have any comments you would like to add to this or any other story, contact Nyree Stewart on + 44 (0)20 7261 4618 or email

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