UK - Pensions Insurance Corporation, the insurance-based pensions buyout provider, has agreed a deal with trustees of the £1.1bn pension fund for former Thorn employees to take on the pensions liabilities and top up the benefits to members.

PIC announced this weekend it has secured a deal to wind up the pension fund and insure its benefits for over 15,000 scheme members which will lead to a 5% uplift on members' benefits.

This is the largest defined benefit buyout deal so far in the UK's ever-expanding pensions buyout market.

Chris Martin, of Independent Trustee Services Limited, and as Chair of the Trustee, said he and his colleagues are satisfied the members' benefits will be secure in the long-term through the insurance plan.
Trustees are said to have been aware of the volatility in the markets during 2008, and explored the annuitisation through what it considers to be an open, competitive process held by the fund's trustee and advisers - Hewitt Associates, Mercer and Sackers.

The larger Thorn-EMI group was broken in 1996, dividing the television division from the original lighting company, named after its founder in 1928, and now owned by Zumbotel Group.

The remnants of this company - Thorn Limited - was bought by PIC in 2006 through its Pensions Corporation Investments division, making PIC the sponsoring company.

Mercer acted as independent broker and actuarial and risk adviser to the trustee, while Hewitt advised on the restructuring of the fund's investment assets to minimise the impact of market volatility and to match the likely annuity purchase price and Sackers was the fund's legal adviser.

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