EUROPE - Some 41% of pension scheme managers would consider de-risking through a buy-in or buyout in the next 12 months if market conditions are favourable, new research revealed.
The survey of 42 of Europe's largest pension schemes - conducted by Clear Path Analysis - found 84% of those said they would start with a partial buy-in, as the first step towards a full buyout.
Research also found the majority (56%) were looking to transact now to get closer to the "end goal" of de-risking completely.
About a fifth of respondents (21%) said they had been planning to de-risk for the past two years, but felt pricing was "more realistic" now.
Additionally, two thirds of scheme managers said they had increased the level or frequency of reporting to the finance director and/or chief executive than ever before, indicating a shift in top-level scrutiny of pension schemes.
However, 79% admitted aligning sponsor and trustee objectives represented a significant challenge to securing a buyout, while more than half said preparing or cleaning data to achieve best pricing would be difficult.
Clear Path Analysis managing director Noel Hillmann said: "The survey re-enforced our opinions that pension plan de-risking is rapidly becoming a central board room issue as finance directors and chief executives realise the vast benefits a buy-in or buyout can bring to the funding position of the company, and in turn the confidence amongst the companies shareholders of the corporations overall finances".
The findings support recent MetLife research, which revealed 64% of trustees saw de-risking as a greater priority than they did 18 months ago.