Retired engineer Brian Izzard was already enjoying his pension when his former company Nortel Networks UK Limited went into administration in 2009. Brian, who had taken on a role as a trustee, as well as being a member of the company’s pension plan, suddenly found himself representing his former colleagues in difficult negotiations over their benefits just as his own retirement plans were in jeopardy.
Brian says: “We were actually doing a three-year review in 2008 and we were hearing all sorts of rumours that Nortel was in difficulties. I think most of us probably thought, ‘yeah, OK, it’s a bit tricky, it has happened before, I’m sure it will go away’. It almost came as a complete surprise I suppose would be the best way of putting it. All of a sudden we were in administration.”
When the company went into administration the Pension Protection Fund (PPF), known as the ‘pensions lifeboat’, stepped in and benefits were reduced to PPF levels of compensation. The Plan remained in the PPF for almost a decade until Brian and his colleagues managed to obtain more funds from the insolvency proceedings and agreed a pension buyout transaction for the pension fund with Legal & General which increased benefits above the PPF levels. This is an example of how we’re supporting the ageing population in the UK who are relying on company pensions to provide for their future and find this future in jeopardy.