Pension Corporation rocked by senior management resignations

Departures are a major blow to the stability of the insurance buyout group
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The Independent Online

Pension Corporation, the insurance buyout group, has been hit by the departure of two of the firm's most senior figures.

The Independent on Sunday has learnt that the group finance partner, Philip Moore, quit at the end of May, just weeks after John Fitzpatrick, a board member and partner, handed in his resignation.

Mr Fitzpatrick joined Pension Corporation from the insurance giant Swiss Re, where he was chief financial office. It's believed Mr Fitzpatrick will return to his native America, although he will continue to act as a consultant to Pension Corporation.

Mr Moore, who was finance director at Friends Provident between 2003 and 2006, before becoming its chief executive in 2007, is expected to stay until the summer. It is not known whether Mr Moore has secured a role elsewhere.

Their departure is a major blow to the stability of Pension Corporation.

The group, led by Edmund Truell, first hit the headlines in 2007 when it bought Telent, the last remaining vestige of the former industrial giant GEC, in what was at the time the largest transfer of pension liabilities in the UK to the secondary market.

Last year, the group completed the buyout of part of the Cadbury pension scheme following the company's takeover by the American giant Kraft earlier in the autumn.

The deal, given the green light by the Takeover Panel last September, saw around £500m of pension liabilities, a quarter of the firm's total, transferred to Pension Corporation. The liabilities were thought to be the least risky of those held by the fund, which at the time carried a deficit of more than £400m.

Pension Corporation has been in discussions with a range of investors during the past few months to raise financing to fund new buyout deals, as the market has reawakened. The group is expected to launch its initial public offering by 2013.

Earlier this year The IoS revealed that the Financial Services Authority, the City regulator, wrote to Pension Insurance Corporation asking it to explain aspects of its investment strategy, as an indication that the regulator is getting tough on insurance firms, in the wake of the credit crunch.

Pension Corporation manages £3.3bn worth of assets on behalf of 45,000 pension holders.

In February, the firm issued full-year results for 2009, revealing a strong year, in spite of the economic headwinds. It posted a profit of more than £200m, with embedded value – a key measure of an insurance company's strength – increasing by 50 per cent over the year.

A spokesman for Pension Corporation declined to comment.