The Uniq Pension Scheme – what would you do as a member?

If you are a member of the Uniq Plc Pension Scheme with a reasonable deferred pension you ought to be worried. The employer’s covenant is weak and ,on the face of it , the scheme is bust.

Members  are faced with the unenviable choice faced by the Equitable Life’s membership some years ago… to take a reduced benefit (cut and run) or to tough it out hoping that some Deus Ex Machina will appear to provide the benefits with a lifeboat.

As with the Equitable decision, members are having to take a shot in the dark.

But information which is of great importance to members in taking such a decision is currently being withheld.

 “In line with best practice“, the Trustees have published the 2009 accounts.The 2009 actuarial valuation has not been published. The assumptions within this valuation are critical to understanding just how underwater the scheme’s funding is and members cannot be expected to take informed decisions without an understanding on whether these assumptions are sensible

The 2009 accounts make mention of the actuarial valuation being published in 2010- member’s might reasonably ask “when?”

Lurking on the shareholder’s register is a sizeable holding from the Pensions Corporation whose modus operandi is to purchase companies that become basket cases because of pension deficits .

Something is going on here. Is the share price of Uniq being purposefully driven down?

Are members (especially deferred the 11.000 deferred members) going to be panicked into taking poor transfer values?

If you follow this line of thinking, it  suggests that many ordinary people members and shareholder (often both) are likely to be deliberately diddled out of their entitlements.

But  should we take the opposite Machiavellian view that it is in the greater good that Uniq is rescued by Private Equity and that its Pension Scheme is secured as part of the deal to the benefit of those hang on and to the wider community who could be spared another claim on the PPF?

An excellent exegis of the Recovery Plan agreed by Uniq, the Pension Scheme- (but not yet by the Regulator) is available here.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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1 Response to The Uniq Pension Scheme – what would you do as a member?

  1. Henry, the Uniq Pension Scheme funding issue is not quite as it seems. I was a bit hasty in finding it as a stich up. Having now seen some of the numbers, I can see how the independent trustee had taken this path. Simply, the company cannot afford the contributions to fund the deficit. Were the trustee to demand payement it would push the company into insolvency. So this might, just, be helpful. But I doubt that Uniq has a future, so it is only a short term repreive.



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