UK - The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) is seeking trustee relationship managers to assist the trustees of schemes entering the Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS).

The UK government introduced legislation in July giving the Board of the PPF certain responsibilities in relation to the FAS - the compensation fund which preceded the PPF for schemes where the employer became insolvent after 1 January 1997.

The responsibilities centre mainly around the management of asset and liability transfers from schemes that have not yet wound up as planned, so the PPF has now issued a tender for a provider to help assist in the management of the assets and liabilities of schemes qualifying for FAS assistance.

The PPF said the successful provider would be responsible for producing a service "broadly consistent with that of a PPF caseworker during the PPF assessment period", and would be expected to assist in the management, or arrangements in relation to the management, of transferring any property, rights and liabilities of schemes that have not been fully wound-up.

Although trustees of FAS qualifying schemes remain responsible for the day-to-day running of the schemes and for the completion of wind-up, the trustee relationship managers will effectively provide caseworker support.

The PPF confirmed the responsibilities of the trustee relationship management services would include "actively reviewing and monitoring the progress of trustees as they manage through the wind-up process, providing help and guidance where appropriate".

The contract is scheduled to last for an initial period of one year, although the PPF has the potential option to extend the mandate for a further three years.

Figures for the FAS, updated on 24 October 2008, showed there are currently 759 schemes that qualify for assistance, while 569 schemes have completed the assessment period and 8,887 members are receiving benefits.

Regulations to extend the reach of the FAS and to improve the levels of compensation to bring them in line with the PPF came into force earlier this year after the government agreed in December to contribute an additional £935m to the scheme. (See earlier IPE article: DWP finances collapsed pensions with scheme top-up)

The deadline for submissions to provide trustee relationship management services is 1 December 2008 and further details can be obtained from procurement department of the PPF.

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