UK - Banking giant HSBC is under fire after it merged a subsidiary's pension scheme - which is in surplus - into its own underfunded £3.25bn scheme.
The move followed HSBC’s acquisition of venture capital company Charterhouse and has provoked fears among the subsidiary’s staff that their pensions have been put at risk.
Simmons & Simmons solicitor Kirsty Bartlett said it was natural for members of a scheme in surplus to be concerned when it is merged with one which is in deficit.
But she pointed out that when such a move takes place without consent, members’ pensions are protected by law.
HSBC has also assured Charterhouse scheme members that it had implemented a priority arrangement for them in the event of the HSBC scheme being wound up prior to 2011.
A statement from HSBC added that the merger was “completely above board” and had come with a certificate of approval from its actuary.
The Co-operative Group's Somerfield Pension Scheme has completed a buy-in with Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC), insuring the benefits of its pensioner members.
Caroline Rookes CBE and Michele Hirons-Wood have joined The Pension Superfund's board of trustees to focus on maintaining governance standards and safeguarding member benefits.
The first specialist independent firm advising pension schemes on bulk annuities or moving to a consolidator has been set up with ambitions to shake up the market.