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PIC writes GBP2.2bn pension insurance buy-in

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Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC), a specialist insurer of defined benefit pension funds, has signed a GBP2.2 billion pension insurance buy-in with the Trustee of the Metal Box Pension Scheme, guaranteeing the benefits of the Scheme’s 10,300 pensioners and 2,200 non-pensioner members. 

The intention is that this will move to buyout in November 2021, which will mean each member will become a PIC policyholder, removing the Scheme liabilities from the balance sheet of the Scheme sponsor, Crown Packaging Manufacturing UK Limited (the Company), a subsidiary of Crown Holdings Inc, which is listed on the NYSE.

The Company advisers, Mercer and Sackers, structured and led the transaction, working collaboratively with the Trustee, who took separate advice from their advisers Willis Towers Watson, Mayer Brown and Lincoln. PIC was advised by Herbert Smith Freehills.

Gary Fishlock, chair of Trustees of the Metal Box Pension Scheme, says: “We are delighted to have reached this position of securing our members’ benefits in full following a thorough selection process. Working alongside the Company and our respective advisers, we selected PIC based on their proven customer service standards and strong financial credentials. This has been the culmination of a successful journey over many years, supported by the Company.”

Sidonie Lécluse, Senior Vice President, Crown Packaging European Division GmbH, says: “This successful outcome for the Scheme members is the result of collaborative Company and Trustee planning and activity over the last 10 years. We are pleased to have enabled the Trustee to fully secure members’ benefits at an earlier point than they had expected. Our respective advisers have worked together to ensure both Company and Trustee objectives were met.”

Mitul Magudia, Head of Business Development at PIC, says: “This is an important transaction which guarantees the benefits of over 12,000 pension scheme members, who will become PIC policyholders in due course. This transaction is a direct result of a collaborative approach between the Trustee, Company, their respective advisers, and PIC over the last 12 months. We expect this transaction to form a blueprint for others looking to achieve similar objectives in the future and are of course delighted to have written the biggest transaction of this year so far.”

Ben Stone, Risk Transfer Partner at Mercer, says: “The key to this successful transaction was extensive planning and significant preparation work, coupled with the Company and Trustee setting clear objectives from day one. Taking this approach with insurers, while supported by the Trustee advisers, enabled a very smooth transaction to complete with no surprises.”

Sadie Scaife, Senior Director at Willis Towers Watson, says: “When it became clear that a buyout of the Scheme was a possibility, the Trustee quite rightly focussed on the outcome for members. The Trustee and Company, with their respective advisers, ran a detailed selection process which focussed on the security of member benefits and providing a high standard of member experience, whilst meeting the requirements for cost and certainty.”

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