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re Uniq plc – hopefully not unique!

1 April 2011

The Uniq plc case opens a door to a brighter future for employers sponsoring defined benefit schemes facing large deficits.

In this recent case the High Court approved the ground-breaking arrangement of a pension deficit for equity swap. This decision could pave the way for other employers looking to manage their defined benefit pension liabilities.

Whilst this may not be a cure for all, it certainly is a sound beginning and will no doubt be explored by many employers wanting to be released from their financial obligations to their defined benefit scheme and avoid insolvency.

By virtue of a regulated apportionment arrangement and a complex restructuring involving the employers, pension scheme trustees and the Pension Protection Fund (PPF), Uniq plc has been released from its employer pension debt liability in exchange for giving the trustees a large stake in the company. The shareholding is then held on charitable trust under a new corporate entity, which has entered administration with the pension scheme entering a PPF assessment period.

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