Sackers advises on £1.2bn buy-in for TotalEnergies UK Pension Plan

The Trustee of the TotalEnergies UK Pension Plan has completed a buy-in with Pension Insurance Corporation for £1.2bn. The transaction is the largest buy-in completed this year. It follows the Plan’s first buy-in with PIC for £1.6bn in 2014 and secures the pensions of over 2000 pensioners and dependants and 3,500 deferreds.

Rob White, chair of trustees, said: “The Plan’s bulk annuity transaction with PIC for £1.2 bn represents a very good outcome for the Plan’s DB members. This investment decision covers those DB members that were not included in our 2014 buy-in thereby providing additional security to the Plan.

The Sackers’ team, led by Janet Brown, understood our objectives and brought their extensive experience to bear in helping the Trustee conclude the transaction successfully.  The team contained banking, finance and investment specialists (Vicky Carr and Ian Cormican) to ensure that we had a streamlined service delivering comprehensive support over the duration of the project. Sackers worked collaboratively with the Trustee’s other advisers.

Sackers’ diligence and pragmatism, coupled with clear, straightforward advice from all team members, helped us to address the key issues with confidence. This enabled the full Trustee Board to keep up to speed on complicated concepts and ultimately fostered informed decision making.

The buy-in project has taken many months of focused work as the Plan has a complex benefit structure resulting from a merger in 2002 of many former legacy schemes. This presented a number of challenges which we have explored and concluded with the support of our sponsor TotalEnergies.”

Sackers’ partner Janet Brown added: “We were delighted to be able to be part of this buy-in project for the Plan. The Plan was formed in 2002 by the merger of a number of different legacy pensions schemes making for a challenging array of benefit sections and required a big team resource working alongside our risk transfer and finance expertise to help the Trustee achieve its objectives, on a number of fronts.  The time taken from deciding to proceed with a buy-in with TotalEnergies, to signing, has seen Sackers and our fellow advisory team, the sponsor and PIC and its advisers needing to be nimble and work seamlessly together so as to ensure the Trustee was on track throughout and achieved this good outcome for the DB members.”

The Sackers team comprised partners Janet Brown, Kirsty Pake, Ian Cormican, Vicky Carr, senior counsel Hugh Gittins, associate directors Andrew Worthington and Polly Ehrman, senior associate Sarah Clay, associates Sam Dalling, Schuyler Hillbery, Jack McCahill, Susan Oakley, Emma Scott, and head of legal project management Elizabeth Nolan.