UK - Jardine Lloyd Thompson has assured schemes it will take over scheme wind-ups "seamlessly" when Norwich Union axes its operations.
The insurance giant has given trustee clients until September 30 to find a new administrator and actuary after the service was no longer economic to run.
Alternatively, NU is giving trustees the option of transferring to JLT as the two firms have a business partnership – although due diligence tests would still have to be undertaken.
JLT managing director Duncan Howarth said: “We have worked with Norwich Union over the last two to three months to ensure that the schemes can transfer to JLT with the minimum of disruption.
“We have in place electronic transfer of data and arrangements that mean we can immediately continue from where the scheme presently is.
“If clients select JLT, they would not have the type of issues that they might face with other administrators and which might lead to picking up ‘an appointment cold’.”
Eggar Trustees director Vernon Holgate, who is operating as trustee for one scheme in wind-up with NU, warned that despite JLT’s assurances, the due diligence process would cost time and money.
He said: “Trustees will want to be satisfied that ideally it will cost the same (or about the same) and that JLT is at least as good as Norwich Union.
“They will also need to consider the terms of the appointment and see there are no special terms which do not apply to the Norwich Union contract (e.g. limitation of liability clauses).
“The trustees have three months to do this in and if the answer indicates one should look again, you will be pushed to get it through in time.”
Holgate said that in light of these concerns, he was taking the precaution of asking others to tender for the contract.
Higham Group partner and specialist actuary in wind-ups, Russell Agius, agreed.
He said: “Winding-up is an extremely complex area and these trustees are in an invidious position. I urge the trustees concerned to seek comparative propositions from those with a proven track record in scheme wind-ups.”
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