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PHOENIX GROUP HOLDINGS PLC

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Clara-Pensions opens for UK superfund deals after watchdog clearance

11/30/2021 | 05:44am EST

LONDON, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Pensions consolidator Clara-Pensions is open to deals to manage UK company final salary benefit schemes after becoming the first British firm to win regulatory clearance to act as a superfund, it said on Tuesday.

Pension superfunds are designed to manage several pension schemes together, and offer a lower-cost alternative to insuring them through a so-called bulk annuity of the type provided by life insurers such as Aviva, Legal & General and Phoenix.

"Clara’s member-first model is ready for transactions," said Clara-Pensions' Chief Executive Adam Saron, adding that the firm was now planning its deals for the coming year.

British companies have nearly two trillion pounds ($2.67 trillion) in defined benefit, or final salary, pension schemes, most of which are closed to new members.

Nearly half are in deficit, and many companies are looking to offload the schemes, which can be a drag on their balance sheets.

The Pensions Regulator said on Tuesday that Clara-Pensions was the first superfund to pass its assessment process.

The superfund model is new https://www.reuters.com/article/britain-pensions-superfunds-idUSL5N20T4Y4 but has similarities to the Dutch pension system, where individual company pension schemes have been joining bigger, sector-wide programmes.

Superfunds can "increase protection for savers and their pensions, whilst providing employers with a new, affordable option to manage their legacy pension responsibilities”, said Britain's minister for pensions and financial inclusion Guy Opperman.

But the structure has come in for criticism from bulk annuity providers on the basis that it may provide less protection for policyholders.

"It is vital...that trustees and employers still carry out their own thorough due diligence to ensure they are confident a superfund is the right option for their particular scheme and members," said Nicola Parish, TPR’s executive director of frontline regulation.

Employers should only consider a superfund which is on the TPR's list, she added. "We expect employers considering a superfund to come to us for clearance.”

The first superfund deals will likely be finalised next year, said Iain Pearce, senior risk transfer consultant at pensions consultants Hymans Robertson, though he added that he expected the regulator to "closely scrutinise all cases".

($1 = 0.7490 pounds) (Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; Editing by Huw Jones and Jan Harvey)


ę Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AVIVA PLC -2.29% 430.099 Delayed Quote.7.26%
LEGAL & GENERAL PLC -2.66% 291.626 Delayed Quote.0.71%
PHOENIX GROUP HOLDINGS PLC -2.52% 680.0011 Delayed Quote.6.80%
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Financials
Sales 2021 4 968 M 6 741 M 6 741 M
Net income 2021 -425 M -576 M -576 M
Net cash 2021 2 920 M 3 962 M 3 962 M
P/E ratio 2021 -18,6x
Yield 2021 6,92%
Capitalization 6 966 M 9 508 M 9 453 M
EV / Sales 2021 0,81x
EV / Sales 2022 0,90x
Nbr of Employees 7 653
Free-Float 85,3%
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Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 16
Last Close Price 697,60 GBX
Average target price 781,52 GBX
Spread / Average Target 12,0%
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Managers and Directors
Andrew David Briggs Chief Executive Officer & Director
Rakesh Kishore Thakrar Group Finance Director & Director
Nicholas Lyons Non-Executive Chairman
Antonios Kassimiotis Group Chief Operating Officer
Michael Eakins Group Chief Investment Officer
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