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Professional Investor - Netherlands
Press release - 14 march 2024

Clara Pensions wins second pension mandate

Clara has agreed a transaction with Trustees of the Debenhams Retirement Scheme to fully take-on and deliver its members' pensions. Debenhams is a household name in the UK, with roots dating back to 1778. The 10,400 members of the Debenhams Scheme, which entered the Pension Protection Fund’s (PPF) assessment period in April 2019 following the insolvency of Debenhams, will now join Clara, where they will receive 100 percent of their promised pensions in retirement.

Van Lanschot Kempen Investment Management UK is the fiduciary manager of Clara Pensions - the member-first consolidator for defined benefit pension schemes in the UK. Our partnership with Clara Pensions strongly focuses on the future pathway for many UK pension schemes to the insurance market, bolstering Van Lanschot Kempen’s position as one of the most innovative fiduciary managers in the UK market.

As part of this long term partnership, Van Lanschot Kempen has worked closely together with Clara to obtain regulatory approval from TPR several years back and develop customised portfolios to deliver the benefits to incoming members.

Nikesh Patel, Head of Client Solutions UK at Van Lanschot Kempen, said: “This second transaction marks a significant milestone, offering members and trustees a bridge to an insurer buyout, and cementing the role of consolidators in the broadening endgame landscape of UK pensions. In working with the trustees, Clara has offered an innovative solution that targets members benefits to be returned back to their original level from a reduced PPF based level. This will positively impact the livelihoods of the 10,400 members of this scheme. This latest transaction demonstrates that superfunds are rightly gaining pace in the UK but also highlight the way in which superfunds are meeting the Government’s objectives for pension schemes when it comes to bolstering the UK economy.”

“As Clara’s longstanding partner and its fiduciary manager, it is our role to implement asset allocation which is in the best interests of members whilst building a novel approach to improving the security of the assets delivering their pensions. It also shows the importance of strategic innovation as the pace of change in the UK pension industry continues to pick up. However, superfunds also illustrate the role pension scheme assets have in supporting the UK economy.”

“By providing a longer-term timeline to buyout, superfunds such as Clara enable suitable schemes to both, continue investing in gilts, which is critical for stabilizing the cost of government borrowing, but also to invest in productive UK assets such as UK corporate debt and private credit, supporting businesses across the UK. This is in keeping with the Government’s ambitions set out in Chancellor’s Mansion House Speech almost a year ago.”

About Van Lanschot Kempen Investment Management

Van Lanschot Kempen Investment Management is a specialist investment manager with a focused approach and a clear investment philosophy. We believe in long-term stewardship for our clients and other stakeholders. Van Lanschot Kempen Investment Management provides sustainable returns, fiduciary management services, manager selection, portfolio construction and monitoring, alongside a number of actively-managed investment strategies. As of 31 December 2023, Van Lanschot Kempen Investment Management had a total of €104.7 billion in client assets.

About Van Lanschot Kempen NV

Van Lanschot Kempen is an independent, specialist wealth manager active in private banking, investment management and investment banking, with the aim of preserving and creating wealth, in a sustainable way, for both its clients and the society of which it is part. Through our long-term focus, we create positive financial and non-financial value. Listed at Euronext Amsterdam, Van Lanschot Kempen is the Netherlands’ oldest independent financial services company, with a history dating back to 1737.


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