Insurer Legal & General is to take on responsibility for paying the pensions of 22,000 members of the British Airways pension scheme in a £4.4bn bulk annuity deal, the biggest ever such transaction agreed in the UK.
In a bulk annuity deal, defined-benefit pension schemes ie, schemes that promise members guaranteed pensions for life in retirement pay an insurance company to deliver the benefit on their behalf. The idea is to limit risk for the pension scheme and its sponsoring employer, which must otherwise depend on educated guesswork about the life expectancy of its members as it tries to work out how much pension promises will cost and how much it must pay to fund them.
Such deals are also seen as good news for pension-scheme members, who benefit from the security of receiving their pension payments from a regulated financial-services company. This reassurance can be valuable for savers worried about the long-term financial health of their former employers in an era when many firms have gone bust, leaving substantial deficits in the funding of their pension schemes.
David Prosser is a regular Money Week columnist, writing on small business and entrepreneurship, as well as pensions and other forms of tax-efficient savings and investments.
David has been a financial journalist for almost 30 years, specialising initially in personal finance, and then in broader business coverage. He has worked for national newspaper groups including The Financial Times, The Guardian and Observer, Express Newspapers and, most recently, The Independent, where he served for more than three years as business editor. He has won a number of awards, including the Harold Wincott Personal Finance Journalist of the Year, the Headline Money Journalist of the Year and the BIBA Journalist of the Year. He has also been a frequent contributor to broadcast news, providing expert advice and punditry on radio and television.
For the past ten years, David has worked as a freelance journalist, writing for a broad range of newspapers, magazines and online publications. He also writes a regular column for Forbes, and is a frequent contributor to both specialist and consumer publications.
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