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April 30, 2008

E&Y establishes pensions team

As the UK population ages, pension schemes are becoming more complicated and costly for companies to account. Ernst & Young UK (E&Y) has responded by creating a team of dedicated professionals to provide pension advice to corporate clients.

The pensions advisory team comprises of 20 actuaries and advisors who are experts on defined benefit schemes. The team covers a range of advisory services, such as managing pension-related liabilities and how they interact with pension scheme assets to steering companies and their advisers in the areas of financial reporting and mergers and acquisitions. E&Y claimed it is able to draw on corporate recovery and tax experts to offer a much wider service than is typically found in niche pension consultancies. There are also plans to broaden expertise within the team.

The team is headed by lead partner Terry Simmons, who joined the firm this month from PricewaterhouseCoopers UK (PwC). Other senior appointments include second partner Iain Brown, who is a former Aon Consulting head of financial risk consulting, and director Chris Bown, also from PwC.

Simmons told IAB the team was established due to increasing client demand and a desire to pool pension expertise. “It completes the range of skill sets that E&Y needs to be able to fully advise its clients on pension issues. It’s really linking together all the relevant skills so that we’re effectively joining together rather than just doing purist pension work,” Simmons said.

“A lot of our clients have got the problems that everyone has got around final salary pension schemes. The partners here at Ernst & Young that weren’t leading on engagements were finding it frustrating that it was an area that Ernst & Young didn’t have the expertise to deal with. There was that pull from the clients.”

Simmons predicts pensions work will continue to rise as companies find they have insufficient assets to the cover the pension liabilities of an ageing workforce. Arvind Hickman

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