But pensions deficit is greater than value of all broker's assets

Robert Fleming Insurance Brokers says it is "very relaxed" about a deficit in its pension fund that is greater than the value of all its assets.

The broker, spun off in 2001 from the banking group founded by the grandfather of James Bond creator Ian Fleming, has a pension deficit of £2.9m.

The pension fund's assets total £2.8m and its liabilities amount to £5.7m.

The figures, calculated as at 31 March, were revealed in the broker's report and accounts for the year up to that date.

The company was created by a management buy-out in January 2001 after 20 years as a majority owned subsidiary of Robert Fleming Holdings.

Finance director Kenneth Stanners said the process left RFIB's pension fund, set up following the MBO, with significant liabilities.

"The old Fleming scheme was committed to paying whatever people had earned in their pension up to the point they left that fund. From day one, RFIB assumed a liability for future service on the old scheme."

Stanners said RFIB was "very relaxed" about its pension scheme.

Five founding directors were given cash settlements to buy them out of early retirement deals, cutting the scheme's liabilities by nearly £1m.

Stanners said the company had promised them sums to help them into early retirement. The promises were made about ten years ago when the fund was in surplus but were never accepted as liabilities by the trustees, and the directors were paid by the company rather than the pension fund.

Stanners did not disclose how much each director received but said it was "considerably less" than the £935,000 booked as a corresponding gain by the pension fund.

The company's results were helped during the period by its acquisition of London and Overseas Reinsurance Intermediaries Ltd (LORIL) for £6m.

RFIB results at a glance

  • Turnover up to £25.3m from £19.3m
  • Profit before tax up to £3.4m from £2.7m
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