Aviva announces £1 billion pension buy-in deal with Co-operative Pension Scheme

Aviva today announces it has completed a £1 billion bulk purchase annuity transaction with the Trustee of the Co-operative Pension Scheme (Pace).

Aviva will insure the defined benefit pension liabilities of approximately 7,000 members, removing the investment and longevity risk of these members from the Scheme. Members will see no change in the amount of their benefits or the way in which they are paid as a result of the transaction, which forms part of the Trustee’s de-risking strategy.

The competitive bidding process to select an insurer and negotiate terms was led by Aon on behalf of the Trustee. The Trustee received legal advice from Linklaters and investment advice from Mercer.

Angela Darlington, CEO Aviva UK Life*, said:

“I’m delighted that Aviva has secured this significant deal with the Co-operative Pension Scheme. This is further evidence of the expertise we have in pension de-risking and our ability to support schemes of all sizes. With an ‘umbrella’ framework now in place, we look forward to potential further de-risking opportunities in the future.

“As the UK's largest multi-line insurer, we’re in an exceptional position to offer our clients a whole range of insurance products, whether it’s for large or small schemes.”

Chris Martin of Independent Trustee Services Limited, the chair of the Co-operative Pension Scheme’s Trustee, said:

“This buy-in further increases member security as part of the Trustee’s long-term de-risking strategy, and is a real positive for scheme members, the Trustee and the Co-op. It represents a huge amount of hard work from the Co-op pensions team and thanks go to our advisers, Aon, Linklaters and Mercer, for their roles throughout the process and their advice to the Trustee.”

Gary Dewin, Director of Reward for the Co-op, said:

“Our Pace pension scheme is one of the strongest in the UK and highly valued by its members.  By taking this buy in approach we are simply looking to further strengthen this position.”

Tom Scott, Principal Consultant in Aon’s Risk Settlement Group, said:

"We are pleased to have supported the Joint Working Group in developing its de-risking strategy and navigating the exceptionally busy bulk annuity market over recent months.

“As a result of thorough preparation and careful timing, we have been able to secure terms with Aviva as part of the next stage in the Scheme's journey."  

Phil Goss, Linklaters Pensions Partner, said:

“The Trustee and Co-op have achieved a significant milestone in supporting the security of members’ benefits with the successful completion of this transaction. It has been a pleasure supporting the whole team throughout the project, from planning to execution, and working with Aviva and its advisers, to achieve terms that protect the long term interests of members.”

The Co-op is one of the world’s largest consumer co-ops, owned by millions of members. It has the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer, the UK’s number one funeral services provider, a major general insurance business, and a developing legal services business.

*Subject to regulatory approval

- ENDS -

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Notes to editors:

  • We are the UK's leading diversified insurer and we operate in the UK, Ireland and Canada. We also have international investments in India and China.
  • We help our 19.2 million (as at 31 December 2023) customers make the most out of life, plan for the future, and have the confidence that if things go wrong we’ll be there to put it right.
  • We have been taking care of people for more than 325 years, in line with our purpose of being ‘with you today, for a better tomorrow’. In 2023, we paid £25.6 billion in claims and benefits to our customers. 
  • In 2021, we announced our ambition to become Net Zero by 2040, the first major insurance company in the world to do so. We are aiming to have Net Zero carbon emissions from Aviva’s operations and supply chain by 2030. While we are working towards our sustainability ambitions, we recognise that while we have control over Aviva’s operations and influence on our supply chain, when it comes to decarbonising the economy in which we operate and invest, Aviva is one part of a far larger global ecosystem. There are also limits to our ability to influence other organisations and governments. Nevertheless, we remain focused on the task and are committed to playing our part in the collective effort to enable the global transition. Find out more about our climate goals at www.aviva.com/climate-goals and our sustainability ambition and action at www.aviva.com/sustainability
  • Aviva is a Living Wage, Living Pension and Living Hours employer and provides market-leading benefits for our people, including flexible working, paid carers leave and equal parental leave. Find out more at https://www.aviva.com/about-us/our-people/
  • As at 31 December 2023, total Group assets under management at Aviva Group were £376 billion and our estimated Solvency II shareholder capital surplus was £8.8 billion. Our shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange and we are a member of the FTSE 100 index.
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