As you know The Co-operative Bank has been in talks for many months to try and raise new funds to secure its future. As a minority shareholder our Co-op has been involved in these talks and our objective throughout has been to make sure that any proposal is in the best interests of our colleagues, our members and the members of the joint Group and Bank PACE pension scheme.
I’m delighted to tell you that all parties involved have today reached an agreement which, if approved by the Bank’s investors, will provide the capital the Bank requires and additional funds for the Pace scheme. You can read the Bank’s announcement and read our response.
As our announcement says, we have agreed principles with the Bank and the Pace Scheme Trustees which will see the Pace scheme separated, with the Bank and the Group taking responsibility for their respective shares. The agreement will ensure that the Pace scheme remains well supported in the future. There will be no change to the benefits that have already been built up in Pace or those payments which are being paid to pensioners. The Pace Trustee has issued a statement on the Pace website at www.coop.co.uk/pensions and will be providing updates via the website in the coming weeks.
We’ve worked hard to secure the right outcome, especially for the pension scheme, and I’m sure you’ll agree today’s announcement is good news for the Co-op movement and for all our stakeholders.