Merchant Navy enters into pension buy-in

The Merchant Navy Officers Pension Fund (MNOPF) has entered into a bulk annuity insurance policy for around £680 million of members’ benefits in its defined benefit (DB) pension scheme.

The insurance policy covers around 40,000 members of the MNOPF’s old section, which closed in 1978.

Rothesay Life is providing the insurance policy, while Towers Watson advised MNOPF on the transaction and its de-risking activity.

Peter McEwen, chairman of the MNOPF, said: “This means that certainty and security over pension benefits have now been extended in full to all benefits of the old section through insurance policies.

“Our top priority in negotiating this arrangement has been to secure the benefits of all our members. This move not only achieves that goal, it also enables us successfully to manage the risks faced by the fund as a whole, which is good news for employers too.”

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Andrew Waring, chief executive at MNOPF, added: “Recent years have been an extremely challenging period for pension funds, during which the MNOPF has been very actively pursuing the goal of improving the security of members’ benefits.

“Improving the funding position from a little over 80% in 2009 to full funding today, and completing this transaction, have been a tremendous achievement in these very difficult markets.