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Pensions Bank set to be acquired

Sipp and SSAS banking firm Pensions Bank is set to be acquired by three investors, including a local authority.

The company, which was sold by Pointon York in 2006, provides specialist banking services to pension scheme administrators and trustees.

Pensions Bank’s sole shareholder is Law Debenture Trust Corporation, a company holding shares as nominee for Vladimir Antonov, the Russian owner of Portsmouth Football Club.

In August, it was agreed to sell the bank to Trinity Hall, a Cambridge University College, Cambridgeshire County Council and private investor Ravi Takhar. The deal has not yet been approved by the FSA. A recent auditor’s report of Pensions Bank says: “If the sale were not to go ahead the company is unlikely to be able to meet its regulatory capital requirements going forward, and in this situation it is likely that the company would discharge its liabilities in full, and then cease to carry out business.”

Pensions Bank made pre-tax losses of £695,000 in 2010 and £387,000 in 2009.

Its 2010 accounts show it held just over £64m in customer accounts at the end of the year. The accounts include a provision for a £250,000 loss on a £1m deposit made with defunct Icelandic bank Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander.

Pointon York remains a client of Pensions Bank. Finance & Compliance director Steven Clews says: “We have contingency plans in place. If the sale of Pensions Bank did not go ahead it would not be an issue for us or our customers.

“However, we are confident that these arrangements will not be necessary.”

Ravi Takhar, the private financier behind the proposed deal, was previously Investec head of principal finance and led the investment firm’s entry into the UK and international mortgage markets.

He says if the FSA clears the deal, it will be the first time a local authority has entered into a transaction to acquire a bank.

Pensions Bank chief executive Gary Wilkinson says: ”The buyers are progressing well with the formal change in control approval process required by the FSA, and are aiming for approval in early 2012. The Bank is extremely liquid, its capital is in excess of its regulatory requirements, and it currently has no intention to cease to carry on banking business. But if it were to do so there then would be an orderly and  controlled transfer or repayment of all its customers’ deposits in full”.

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  1. and why do Cambridge Council want to buy it?

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