UK - The first online auction for a pension scheme buyout was held this week, using a process developed by Mercer Human Resource Consulting.
A spokesman for Mercer said the process had been developed in response to the increasing number of ‘players’ in the UK pensions market, enabling trustees and insurers to cut a process which can take weeks down to around two hours.
Richard Giles, principal at Mercer, commented: "Buyouts can be extremely complex and our specialist teams have invested considerable time and expertise in ensuring the auction design is efficient and fair and can result in excellent prices for our clients."
Four companies, Legal & General, Norwich Union, Paternoster and Prudential, took part in the bidding for the pension and life assurance scheme of Henry Tryer & Co, although the winner cannot be announced until the assets have been transferred.
Charles Goddard of Capital Cranfield Trustees, which has partnered with Mercer in taking the process forward, stated: “A buyout is the single biggest investment that trustees make.
“With increasing accountability on trustees, this transparent method provides us with a fully-documented record to support our decision."
The Henry Tryer scheme had assets of under £10m, however, the Mercer spokesman confirmed the online auctions for the buyout of two larger pension schemes were imminent – one, valued at around £25m, was due to be held within the next couple of weeks.
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