The Marathon Service (GB) Limited Pension and Life Assurance Scheme has completed a £610m full buy-in with Rothesay Life, covering the benefits of more than 1,400 members.
The deal, signed in July, was initiated by the scheme sponsor, RockRose Energy, on the back of beneficial market movements arising from Covid-19, with pricing locked-in quickly after working with the trustees through a joint working group.
It covers 740 pensioner and 700 deferred members of the independent oil and gas production and infrastructure company scheme.
Lane Clark & Peacock (LCP) acted as lead adviser to the transaction, working for RockRose, while Sackers provided legal advice to the sponsor. The trustees were advised by Mercer and Herbert Smith Freehills, while Gowling WLG advised Rothesay Life.
Scheme chairman Chris Martin, who is also executive director at Independent Trustee Services, said: "This transaction secures benefits in full for our members, ensuring a greatly enhanced level of security. We are delighted to have been able to secure this transaction in the current economic climate, which was only achieved by all parties working closely together.
RockRose chairman Andrew Austin added: "This transaction gives certainty for the members' pensions with an experienced and financially strong provider. The secondary benefit is that is has capped the financial risk to the sponsor.
"We are grateful for the advice received from LCP that allowed us to be opportunistic and secure outcomes that mutually benefited both the pension scheme members and the sponsoring employer."
Tom Seecharan, who works in Rothesay Life's business development team, said: "We are proud to have been chosen to provide security for the scheme and to help another scheme on their journey to buyout, a trend we expect to continue over the coming year.
"It was clear throughout this process that the scheme and RockRose were working together closely and had a genuine commitment to move quickly if their target could be hit. This was key for us to meet the challenging price objective."
Rothesay Life has now announced just under £2.1bn of bulk annuity deals this year, including a £930m buy-in with the Littlewoods Pensions Scheme, and a £290m buy-in with the IPC Media Pension Scheme. Around £14.3bn of deals have been confirmed by all insurers.
Mercer risk transfer principal Martyn Phillips said: "We are delighted to have supported the trustees in ensuring the deal met their risk management objectives and delivered a good outcome for their members. Working closely with the company and their advisers through the joint working group demonstrated a cohesive approach, which in turn generated strong insurer engagement and led to good buy-in terms being secured."
LCP partner Ken Hardman commented: "We're delighted to have been able to help secure the benefits in full for all members of the scheme. This transaction is a concrete example of identifying a market opportunity and being able to act quickly on it before market conditions revert."
This year might prove to be a blip in the growth of the bulk annuity market despite volumes trending towards £25bn, according to Mercer.
The Hitachi UK Pension Scheme has agreed and completed a £275m buy-in deal with Legal & General (L&G) covering the remaining benefits in the scheme.
The Siemens Benefits Scheme has agreed a £530m buy-in with Legal & General (L&G), insuring the benefits of more than 2,300 pensioner members.
The ICI Pension Fund has completed its ninth buy-in with Legal & General (L&G), insuring a further £70m of benefits and bringing total insured benefits with L&G to around £5.8bn.
Just Group completed £460.3m of bulk annuity deals in the six months to 30 June, its half-year results have revealed.