Of all the pensions schemes in all the world, it had to be Trinity Mirror

Anyone got a spare second hand tank because I suspect the Pensions Regulator might just want it to go and park it on Trinity Mirror’s lawn?

According to this Professional Pensions story, newspaper group Trinity Mirror will suspend most of its defined benefit deficit recovery payments for three years up to 2015 to the tune of £70m. Instead the firm is repaying bank notes and has arranged a new banking facility in the US.

Anyone think this might hit a nerve? The scheme is currently in deficit to the tune of £172.6m which has grown from £117.5m in the last 12 months. Apparently, Trinity did not seek pre-approval from the regulator but the trustees seem to have been all right with it. In the next few years, if Trinity wants to pay a dividend, and depending on some quite complicated calculations it will have to up its contributions again, so that’s something then.

I can see this is a tricky one. The firm has had a torrid time share price wise and this lending facility could help it plot a route back to a higher share price. We know all about the problems of DB, but I’m not quite sure that the tonnes of pension regulations were really meant to have allowed discretion of this sort without at least some sort of regulatory clearance. I’m sure the trustees have checked the legals on this though. They must have.  

Ok, this isn’t Cap’n Bob’s thievery, but my goodness of all the pension schemes in all the places. I am surprised this hasn’t been given more of a profile by news editors in the nationals, but maybe I’m just getting long in the tooth.  Anyway as Mark Twain said ‘History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme”. This may well meet all the necessary regulations. But there are going to be some very worried scheme members.


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