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Risk Solutions

With the increasing range of options for managing pension scheme risk, picking the optimal solution for your pension scheme can be challenging.

At Cardano, we focus on understanding your specific needs and finding the right solution for you and your members. We have a ‘product-agnostic’ approach to endgame planning, drawing on both our extensive insurer-side expertise and our investment and covenant know-how.

Every pension scheme is unique

Our experienced Risk Solutions team has an impressive track record in helping manage pension scheme risk. In-depth market understanding means that we aren’t afraid to challenge market norms. We support pension schemes in identifying the solution that will deliver the best outcome for their members, based on their circumstances.

Whether you’re considering buyout or taking an alternative path – including running your pension scheme on – we tailor specific de-risking strategies to deliver the right solution, supporting you every step of the way.

Risk settlement

Our buy-in and buyout brokering service is available for any size of pension scheme. We’ll work with you through market preparation, insurer engagement and delivering a successful transaction. And if you’re looking for support post-transaction, we can guide you through the data, legal, investment and wind-up workstreams.


We provide clear advice and cut through insurance industry jargon, with bespoke tools to advise you on insurer pricing, their track records and to help you to assess them as a counterparty across areas including insurer covenant, administration and ESG.


Our dedicated Risk Settlement team was the lead adviser to the £4.8 billion full pension scheme buy-in completed between the Boots Pension Scheme and Legal & General in November 2023. This transaction, which covered the benefits of 53,000 members, is the largest ever single buy-in or buyout transaction by both premium size and number of members.


Our team also has extensive experience working for market-leading buyout providers. It’s this in-depth insight which will get you to the front of the queue in a busy market and negotiate attractive terms with insurers.

Advisory services for pension schemes - poles in water

Alternative de-risking

With a widening range of risk-transfer solutions on offer, there is plenty of opportunity to take a different approach to reducing pension scheme risk.


New alternative de-risking solutions seek to strike a balance between risk-reduction, benefit security and affordability. From commercial pension fund consolidators to capital-backed funding arrangements, innovative and alternative de-risking structures can be tailored to a pension scheme’s specific circumstances.


Alternative de-risking is a complex world, but our expert risk solutions team can help you to navigate the benefits and limitations for each de-risking solution, guiding you to the right approach for your pension scheme.


Our investment and covenant know-how enables us to engage with a range of alternative de-risking providers on your behalf to identify a solution that improves the outcomes for your members.


Counterparty risk

Choosing a de-risking solution is a finely balanced endeavour and unique for every pension scheme. Identifying the right counterparty is key. You need to consider counterparty risk – the risk that your benefit underpin fails – whether your pension scheme chooses to run on, go down the alternatives route, or follow the well-trodden path of insurance.


While the insurance regime operates to protect policyholders, insurance is not risk-free. You will want to consider insurer counterparty risk during the insurer selection process, including  financial strength and resilience, member experience capabilities and ESG considerations.


The alternative solutions regulatory regime is less established and structures are typically bespoke to each pension scheme’s situation. This emphasises the importance of counterparty risk considerations, as is already recognised by the Pension Regulator’s ‘Gateway tests’ for consolidators.


Since 2014, we have advised on over £48 billion of buy-ins, buyouts and longevity swaps across transactions of all sizes. We are the UK BPA market’s largest provider of insurer counterparty assessments and the UK’s most established counterparty risk team, offering market-leading employer covenant expertise and experience. We can help you assess transferring obligations to a third-party provider or running on the pension scheme, supported by your existing employer covenant.


Cardano’s dedicated Risk Solutions team has diverse backgrounds and experience, giving us an in-depth understanding of the marketplace and different approaches to suit each client.

To find out more about how we can advise you on managing your pension scheme risk, contact our Risk Solutions team today.

Approaching endgame differently

In this bitesize video series, we look at how schemes and businesses can approach endgame differently, we outline the different types of pension scheme risks and we share how Cardano can help you identify, and deliver, the right risk solution.