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Northern Powergrid appoints BlackRock

10 December 2015

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The trustees of the Northern Powergrid Pension Scheme have appointed BlackRock to run its bundled trust-based defined contribution (DC) pension scheme.

Northern Powergrid runs the electricity distribution network that provides power to customers in the north east, Yorkshire, and northern Lincolnshire.

Its DC pension scheme has 1,500 members, GBP 27million in assets and annual cashflow of GBP 3.4million.

The company started searching for a DC provider to meet the evolving needs of its scheme members after the pension freedoms were introduced in April.

It says the tender process, which was overseen by KPMG, was competitive.

BlackRock has been appointed to run the trust-based DC plan, overseeing member administration and communications, as well as investment management.

John Elliott, chair of the scheme, said: "The pension freedoms have brought a great deal more choice to DC scheme members and as trustees it is our duty to make sure we offer the best solutions to our members that reflect the changing pensions landscape."

Elliott added that the new DC pension arrangement will offer members "increased flexibility and opportunities" - whether their preference is to take cash from their funds from the age of 55 or over, to consider income drawdown, or to take an annuity when they come to retire.

BlackRock is one of the largest retirement managers in the UK, managing over GBP 315bn of pensions assets.

It has a fast-growing bundled DC business, providing administration and investment management to over 315,000 scheme members and around 300 workplace pension schemes.

Paul Bucksey, head of BlackRock's UK Defined Contribution business, said: "We have seen a dramatic shift in investor behaviour since the pension freedoms came into force, as retirees are taking advantage of the options now available to them.

We will work with Northern Powergrid to help ensure their members are at the very best possible financial position at retirement, and able to take advantage of the new opportunities to the fullest."

First published 10.12.2015

Lindsay.sharman@wilmingtonplc.com