This week Isio Group Limited signed an agreement to acquire Deloitte Total Reward and Benefits Limited (DTRB), the UK pensions advisory business of Deloitte LLP, subject to approval from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

DTRB provides actuarial, pensions administration and investment services to some of the biggest organisations and pension plans across the UK. The acquisition and addition of DTRB’s 200-strong workforce to Isio’s existing team will create one of the largest pensions advisory businesses in the UK once completed, it was announced.

Since Isio launched in March 2020, backed by Exponent, the business has shown strong organic growth through new client wins and the development of additional services.

The acquisition of Premier Pensions Management in January 2022 strengthened Isio’s core pensions business while enabling it to launch new propositions including employee benefits advice and wealth management.

The enlarged Isio Group will have annual revenues of around £140m and 1,000 employees across its nine existing locations around the UK together with a new location in Belfast.

Andrew Coles, Isio’s chief executive officer, said: “Since our independence in 2020, we have been ambitious in our growth plans and are proud of how quickly we have established ourselves in the market, developing our people and our services at pace.”

He noted that the Deloitte acquisition “builds on the momentum we have as we build scale and challenge the status quo by developing the best pensions, benefits and wealth advisory offering in the market”.

Mark McClintock, head of Deloitte’s UK pensions business, said: “Bringing together the pedigree and heritage of Deloitte’s UK pensions business and Isio is a hugely exciting proposition for our people and the marketplace. The combined business will have the skills, propositions and services to be the advisor of choice to many UK pension schemes and their sponsors. We are looking forward to joining Isio and all the opportunities it will provide for the team.”

The acquisition is expected to complete in Spring 2023, the terms of which will not be disclosed.

DWP makes recommendations amid PPF review

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) conducted a review of the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) led by Lesley Titcomb, former CEO of The Pensions Regulator, which focused on the four key areas required to form part of a public body review: governance, accountability, efficacy and efficiency.

Titcomb said that she “found the PPF to be a well-run public body offering high standards of service and value for money to those who use it and pay for it.”

The review makes some recommendations for the purpose of enhancing the PPF’s operations. These recommendations include:

  • the PPF should explore the feasibility of managing investments for government and/or acting as a consolidator for schemes that are unlikely to be attractive to commercial consolidators;
  • the PPF should seek to provide a levy calculator for schemes and their employers via its website so that they can work out what their risk-based levy charge will be in pounds and pence;
  • the PPF should consider whether it would be appropriate to seek FCA authorisation and regulation for either the PPF itself or a dedicated subsidiary, given the increased significance of the investment management function.

The review team requested and reviewed written material from the PPF and the DWP and conducted a series of interviews with PPF executives, DWP officials and a range of external stakeholders with different perspectives on the PPF and its relationship with the DWP.

A full list of those interviewed is available online.

The last review of the PPF was the 2014 Triennial Review of Pensions Bodies, which made no recommendations for changes to the scheme. There have been no subsequent reviews of the fund carried out by the DWP.

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