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UK roundup: Leaf UK, PIC, LPFA, Adveq, Next Wave

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The Leaf UK Pension Scheme has entered into a £35m (€41.7m) buyout with Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC), covering the benefits for more than 700 members.

The main employer for the defined benefit (DB) pension scheme is Expalkan Closed Scheme, which is a unit of Dutch company Corbion.

Geoff Matthews, chairman of Leaf Pension Trustees, said: “We embarked on our de-risking journey several years ago, guiding the scheme’s assets to align more closely with its liabilities and this has culminated in a buyout.”

He said the trustees had been impressed with PIC’s proactive approach and its focus on policyholder care.

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Jay Shah, PIC’s co-head of business origination, said, the pension scheme, as part of its de-risking strategy, had been moving away from equities and into a more matched portfolio for some time.

“More widely, rising bond yields and equity markets are providing a more conducive economic backdrop for schemes wishing to buy out,” he said.

Deficits are narrowing and sponsoring companies taking the opportunity to close out DB plans, Shah said.

LCP was the lead specialist adviser to the trustees, and Osborne Clarke provided legal advice and project management.

PwC provided strategic advice to the principal employer.

In other news, the London Pensions Fund Authority (LPFA) and private equity firm Adveq said they had joined forces to invest in e-commerce company Secured Mail.

Adveq said the two partners completed the co-investment alongside private-equity group Next Wave Partners.

No information on the value of the investment was available.

Adveq said Secured Mail had grown rapidly since Next Wave had first invested in the company in 2011, with sales growing by 65%.

Alex Gracian, CIO at the LPFA, said: “Part of the investments strategy at the LPFA is to source cost-effective co-investment opportunities that will add value to the fund.”

The fund had been able to achieve this by working with Adveq, he said.

The LPFA is also very pleased to be supporting the UK SME sector through the investment, Gracian said.

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