We have advised the trustees of the Thomas Cook Pension Plan on a transaction to insure £900m of liabilities with Aviva, securing benefits for over 12,500 members.

The deal will provide the 12,500 Plan members with pension benefits at or in excess of  Pension Protection Fund compensation levels, which represents a better than expected outcome for the vast majority of members.

The Thomas Cook Pension Plan entered a PPF assessment period on 23 September 2019, as a result of the liquidation of Thomas Cook UK Travel Limited. We were subsequently appointed to provide actuarial consultancy, investment consultancy services and risk transfer advice.

The Trustees thoroughly explored avenues to secure the benefits of members, and ran a competitive selection process. The buy-in deal with Aviva was completed on 4 May 2023 with an initial premium payment of £900 million. 

"Our specialist risk transfer team has helped the Trustees of the Thomas Cook Pension Plan to assess how they could best provide value and security to members following the liquidation of Thomas Cook. We were pleased to help the Trustees agree a deal with Aviva after a competitive process, which will improve the benefits that many members receive."
Richard Gibson Partner, Barnett Waddingham

Steve Southern of Vidett (formerly 2020 Pension Services Limited), said: "We're delighted to have entered into the buy-in policy with Aviva. This transaction will eventually see members receive benefits either at or, for many members, with an increase above PPF compensation levels. We're pleased to share this positive news with members, who we know have had a difficult time over the last few years following the unfortunate liquidation of Thomas Cook. Members can take comfort their benefits will be looked after by one of the UK’s leading insurance, wealth & retirement businesses."

Jamie Cole, Head of Bulk Purchase Origination at Aviva, said: "We’re delighted to support the Trustees of the Thomas Cook Pension Plan with their objectives.  This transaction is an important step as it provides security for all members and an uplift in benefits for many.  The Trustees' ambition is to complete the move to buyout as soon as possible and we look forward to welcoming the Plan members to Aviva once this is complete.”

Dan Collins, Relationship Manager at PPF, said: “We recognise that the last few years have been difficult for Thomas Cook scheme members so we are really pleased that the Plan has now secured this buy-in, ensuring improved pension benefits for the majority of members. Our role is to support the members of the schemes we protect and we want to assure Thomas Cook scheme members of our continued support as this transition period develops. We’d like to thank the Trustees and their advisors for working closely with us to achieve this positive outcome."

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