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Pensions Regulator spills the beans on Polestar 1 November 2011

It comes after Polestar UK Print Limited, the company which supported the scheme, went into administration in April.

Despite being bought by Sun Capital as part of a pre-pack deal, the trustees still lost out on a £45m payment.

And the 40-year recovery plan, submitted by the trustee, was dependent on a substantial amount of investment outperformance – deemed to be an "excessive investment risk".

The regulator decided full funding of the scheme was unlikely and the trustee has since written to members confirming the decision to wind up the scheme.

TPR executive director of defined-benefit (DB) regulation Stephen Soper, said: "With no employer support, the funding gap between the scheme’s assets and liabilities could only be closed through taking excessive investment risk.

"This would not be in the best interests of the generality of members or PPF levy payers.

"We therefore believe that the trustees’ decision to wind up the scheme is the right one."

The regulator estimates the scheme, which boasted 8,350 members, had a £529m deficit.

Soper added: "As part of our developing approach to regulating the different segments of the DB landscape, we will work proactively with the trustees of the small number of pension schemes where employer support is so weak that they have little or no chance of paying the benefits promised.

"In these cases, investment risk should only be taken to the extent that any downside can be underwritten by the sponsoring employer.

"We encourage trustees to approach us to discuss the issues they face in order to reach the best possible solution for members and PPF levy payers."

By Andy Pearce

 

 

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