Rolls-Royce, Legal & General Strike $5.8 Billion Pension Deal

Insurer tops previous record for the largest risk transfer seen in the UK.

Luxury carmaker Rolls-Royce is passing on £4.6 billion ($5.8 billion) of retirement assets to insurer Legal & General in Britain’s biggest pension risk transfer yet, the auto company confirmed Thursday.

The deal shifts about 33,000 of Rolls-Royce’s 76,000 pensioners into Legal & General’s pool, cutting the auto company’s liabilities by about $5.2 billion. The insurer will now be responsible for administering and paying the benefits.

The car business will also pay Legal & General around $38 million in cash.

Joel Griffin, Rolls-Royce’s head of global pensions and benefits, said the car company’s affected beneficiaries will now be “governed by stringent funding requirements, resulting in a secure pension environment for our pensioners.”

Legal & General said the liability-driven investing (LDI) deal had its share of “innovative solutions.” One of these included the transfer of one of Rolls-Royce’s hedging portfolios. Another was the revamp of one of the retirement fund’s longevity swaps.

The insurer also said the $5.8 billion agreement accounts for about 30% of Rolls-Royce’s pension assets and equates to about 25% of the company’s market cap.

Stephen Daintith, Rolls-Royce’s chief financial officer, said the “significant transaction” is another step on the luxury vehicle producer’s journey to simplify, de-risk, and strengthen its operations.

Legal & General, which has netted more than $7.6 billion in global LDI transactions this year, also held the UK’s previous record for the largest pension buyout, when it took on $5.5 billion of British Airways’ pension assets last year.

Rolls-Royce held $40.44 billion in assets under management, according to its most recent annual report.

Legal & General could not be reached for comment. Rolls-Royce declined comment.

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