Whitbread Group Pension Fund strikes £680m buy-in deal with Standard Life

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The Whitbread Group Pension Fund, the fund of hospitality group Whitbread, has struck a £680m buy-in deal with Standard Life. 

This marks the trustee’s first transition, covering about 8,000 members. Consultants LCP and law firm Slaughter and May advised Whitbread.
Standard Life said WTW acted as the lead advisers for this transaction, while legal advice was provided by Reed Smith.

Kieran Mistry, senior business development manager at Standard Life, said the transition helps the trustees take risk “off the table in a volatile economic environment”. 

“For schemes who have not yet reached buyout, pensioner buy-ins continue to offer a fantastic opportunity to lock down risk over time, and form strategic partnerships with insurers along the way,” he added.

Standard Life was acquired by Phoenix Group from investment company Standard Life Aberdeen in 2018. 

According to LCP, the total volume of buy-in and buyout activity in 2021 was £27.7bn, with Standard Life taking 20% of the market share. 
LCP said in May: “Standard Life had a record year with their volumes more than doubling to £5.5bn.”

As of 2021, Aviva wrote the highest buy-in and buyout volumes with £6.2bn. The composite insurer took 22% of the market share. 

LCP said the first half of 2022 was driven by mid-sized pension schemes and few “mega transactions” worth more than £1bn. However, the consultancy expects to see “several multibillion transactions close” over the second half of the year. 

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