The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) launched a tender yesterday for a new specialist panel to provide transaction advice to schemes in PPF assessment which are overfunded on a PPF basis (PPF+).

Dubbed the ‘PPF+ Advisory Panel’, it will be made up of four specialist firms that will provide core services to PPF+ schemes including: transaction advisor, scheme actuary and investment support.

The PPF will appoint the panel in February 2022 and the successful firms will be awarded initial two-year agreements with an option of two further 12-month extensions, it said.

Dan Collins, the PPF’s relationships manager, said: “As we continue to see more PPF+ schemes enter our assessment period, we hope this specialist panel will provide consistency and efficiency to the process.”

The said the PPF’s aim is for these schemes to exit the PPF assessment period “as seamlessly as possible” ensuring they secure the best outcome for their members outside the PPF.

Potential applicants will need to register their interest online where they can download the relevant tender documentation.

The deadline to participate is 5pm on 29 October 2021. Any additional questions should be sent via email.

Dashboard programme searches for providers for tech testing

The Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP) is inviting organisations that plan to provide a pensions dashboard to help test the development of the pensions dashboards ecosystem.

PDP announced that in addition to running tests with the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) dashboard, it plans to work with up to three commercially-developed potential dashboards, to ensure the technology and its standards work for different types of dashboard providers.

“Involvement with the programme at this early stage, while PDP is still refining standards and systems, provides potential dashboard providers with an opportunity to influence the design of pensions dashboards and help identify any challenges with connecting to the central technical architecture,” it said.

Raman Dhaliwal, head of product at the PDP, said he was keen to hear from a range of organisations that intend to supply pensions dashboards.

“Ultimately, we want the pensions dashboards ecosystem to work effectively for all, so we can work together to provide a dashboard service that benefits consumers,” he said.

PDP will supply interested dashboard providers with an application pack, which contains a questionnaire and supporting information. Organisations wishing to apply are invited to contact PDP via email.

The closing date for receipt of completed applications is Tuesday 26 October at 5pm UK time.

The programme will run two webinars to outline the application process and provide an opportunity for questions, on 18 and 21 October. PDP will announce the selected dashboard providers by the end of November 2021.

It will support the selected organisations to connect their dashboards to the central digital architecture during its initial (alpha) test phase, which runs for six months from December 2021, PDP said.

Provided they meet the criteria, it added, there may be scope for dashboard providers not selected in the first round, to participate during later test phases.

£49m buyout for Miracle Garden scheme

The Miracle Garden Care Pension Scheme has completed a bulk annuity transaction covering £49m (€57.6m) of pensioner and deferred liabilities for more than 140 members with Just Group.

As well as providing greater security for their members, the transaction “represents a significant step” in the scheme’s journey to buyout as it insures the benefits of all members and buyout will follow the “data cleanse and true-up”, a statement revealed.

John Starling, chair of trustees at the scheme, said: “With sufficient assets to fund a full buy-out, our focus was to select an insurer who would really look after our members when the buyout is complete.”

Rob Mechem, director of DB business development at Just Group, added: “The trustees had an objective to achieve buyout and were determined to secure an outstanding member experience.”

The scheme trustees were advised on the transaction by Mercer, while Eversheds Sutherland was the legal adviser. Pinsent Masons provided legal advice to Just Group.

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