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Wood steps down as Paternoster chief exec

Paternoster chief executive Mark Wood has stepped down from the role to become deputy chairman.

Wood is succeeded as chief executive by commercial director Ed Jervis.

Paternoster shareholders will inject £5m of capital into the firm in a bid to ensure it retains the capability to write new business once it has raised further money or when there is significant improvement in the economic outlook.

It has reduced its headcount from 130 to 106, primarily through redundancies in the marketing division, as it anticipates the volume of transactions to be subdued for the forseeable future.

Wood says: “We are anticipating the buy-out market will be quiet for a few months yet and we are simply reorganising ourselves to reflect that fact. We are reducing our costs somewhat and have taken our head count down sadly.

“While we expect the market to come back as spreads come in and the risk of default reduces in the bond market we do not see it happening for a few months yet therefore the priority of ensuring the security of the pensions we are paying is paramount means we will not be writing any new business for some months to come and that is the reason for the changes.”

Jervis says: “Although credit markets have improved over recent months, the market for defined-benefit pension scheme buy-outs will remain subdued for some time yet.

“As the risk of credit defaults diminishes and asset values improve at the same time as underlying corporate cash flows strengthen, so pension scheme buyouts will again become viable and demand must be expected to soar. These conditions will also be conducive to raising further capital.”

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