PwC has won ‘Project Saturn’, a £16.5m contract that runs to August 2030 under which it will be responsible for running the remaining portfolio of UK Asset Resolution (UKAR). The single supplier contract outsources all aspects of the running of UKAR’s remaining business, with the exception of board and company secretarial functions.
UKAR had been set up as a ‘bad bank’ to run around £100bn in assets from Bradford & Bingley (B&B) and Northern Rock (NRAM). Now only around £8bn of assets remain in its hands and the operation is nearing completion of its objective of returning UK taxpayers' investment in NRAM and B&B to the private sector.
UKAR is responsible for meeting contractual obligations to the buyer of B&B and NRAM, a range of liabilities relating to previous asset sales, sponsoring the legacy defined benefit pension schemes and administering other non-loan assets and liabilities.
The scope of PwC’s contract requires the provision of claims management services and the outsourcing of business administration activities required to run the business, such as management reporting, stakeholder management and other miscellaneous activities (such as, potentially, residual pension management responsibilities). It also involves the planning and management of the transition to the new arrangements.
Eyebrows may be slightly raised at PwC’s contract win as it comes some 12 years after the firm was criticised in Parliament by the Treasury Select Committee over its double role as auditor and adviser to Northern Rock in the sale of its mortgage assets.