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Pearl Group has £7bn for pension buyouts

Pearl Group has declared its aggressive takeover ambitions in the pension scheme buyout sector and says it has a £7bn war chest.

Speaking at a Cazalet Consulting conference on asset management in UK life and pensions, former pizza to pubs entrepreneur Hugh Osmond was very bullish about the growth strategy of his closed life fund operation.

He said the firm will go head to head with new final-salary buyout vehicles, such as Paternoster.

He said: “We are definitely in the market and have the capital and strategy to play in size. We want to play in the £1bn-plus market, we are not interested in small deals.”

He said the firm’s higher- risk strategy means it is equ- ally interested in taking over ailing companies and turning them into profit- able ones as cherrypicking successful firms.

Paternoster chief executive Mark Wood says: “The defined-benefit buyout market is rapidly expanding and, with something in the order of £1trillion assets under management, increased compet- ition is a natural response.”

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