Harrods: There is only one pension-fund sale

Harrods, the upmarket London retailer owned by Mohamed al-Fayed, is mulling the sale of its £200 million pension fund in a buy-out deal.

Harrods is thought to be seeking to offload its pension obligations to more than 1,000 staff by selling the scheme to a specialist insurer. A so-called buy-in deal, where certain liabilities are insured rather than sold, is also being discussed.

The company recently brought forward the review of its pension fund to consider future funding options.

A spokesman for Harrods said: “Harrods is carrying out a statutory valuation of the fund, which is normal practice every three years. However, we are bringing this forward a little to make sure the company and the pension fund is protected. We are looking at a range of options for the fund.”

Harrods is believed to be in discussions with a number of firms to take over the running of the pension fund, including Edmund Truell’s Pension Corporation. A spokesman for Pension Corporation declined to comment.

The pension fund was nearly £20m in deficit at the end of January this year, according to accounts filed at Companies House in the summer, however, the shortfall is likely to have reduced as equity markets rallied from March.

In 2006, Harrods axed its final-salary pension scheme to new entrants, instead offering staff access to a less generous money-purchase scheme. At the time, the pension fund carried a deficit of around £106m, with the company saying the open scheme “presented an unacceptable future risk for its employees and the group”.

But in April 2006, Harrods committed to plug the shortfall by injecting £90m into the fund by 2016.

Should Harrods strike a deal on its pension fund it would signal the re-emergence of the pension buyout market, which has been largely closed during the past 12 months.

But recently the market has showed signs of life when Lucida, the private equity-backed insurer led by former Prudential chief executive Jonathan Bloomer, agreed a deal to insure £500m of pension liabilities held by the trustees of the Merchant Navy Officers Pension Fund.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links