C&W Pension Offloading Plan Thwarted by Costs

December 6, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.COM) - A plan by U.K. telecom group Cable & Wireless to get rid of its £2 billion pension fund has been derailed because the move turned out to be too expensive, according to a TimesOnline news report.

According to the report, the company informed investors that the decision to abandon plans to offload the fund means the fund is unlikely to go ahead in the near future.

Companies including Paternoster, the specialist insurer, have created a new industry for taking on company pension plans in the hope their investment expertise will enable them to make money, the report said. .

The buyout group takes full ownership of the scheme and responsibility for paying the members.

Companies are usually required to make a lump sum payment before relinquishing ownership of their pensions, according to the report.

Last month, Emap, the publishing and radio group, paid £40 million to have its schemes taken off its hands by Paternoster.

Pension experts calculate that C&W, whose final-salary scheme has about £2 billion of liabilities, would have to pay between £300 million and £500 million to do a similar transaction, the TimesOnline story indicated.