September 30, 2022
Rothesay chief Laudadis to step down after 15 years

Addy Loudiadis is stepping down as chief executive of Rothesay, a group he co-founded 15 years ago within Goldman Sachs and has since become the UK’s largest pension insurance specialist.

Rothesay operates in the so-called wholesale annuity market, where companies pay insurance companies to take over their corporate pension liabilities and the assets that support them. Companies are increasingly taking this route to move old pension funds off their balance sheets.

Rothesay was founded in 2007 as an entity within Goldman by Laudiadis and Tom Pierce, its managing director, who today replaces him as chief executive. Goldman later flirted with an initial public offering before selling its remaining stake in 2017. Rothesay is now backed by US insurer MassMutual and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and was valued at £5.75 billion two years ago.

“Rothesay will always be my heart,” Loudiadis told the Financial Times. “I just wanted this particular business model to be remembered so well, without wanting to be everything to everyone.”

Loudiadis described the original entity within Goldman as “just a box with Tom and I”, and the pair have struggled to dispel the notion that they are bankers rather than insurance officers.

“Even today, people wouldn’t call us an insurance person for whatever reason,” said the 59-year-old, who plans to take a break before focusing on philanthropy.

After complex and lengthy negotiations with employers and pension plan representatives, the wholesale annuity market is flooded with great deals.

“In the early days, there were certainly times when a deal was life and death,” said Loudiadis. The £4.7 billion purchase of Talent’s pension plan three years ago was the biggest ever for the sector. Rothesay Now looks after the pensions of 830,000 people and has assets of over £60bn.

Rothesay president Naguib Kharaj said Laudiadis had built “an amazing business out of a start-up”, adding: “It’s quite extraordinary . . . in an industry that didn’t exist when it started.”

Laudiadis hands out business at a time where wholesale annuity deals are on the rise — but competitive pressure is mounting as larger groups like Aviva try to build their presence in the market.

tom pierce
tom pierce

“The biggest thing for us is to be patient and get the right deals at the right times,” said Pearce, 43.

Loudiadis said that during his time at Rothesay there had been “about a day of ups and downs”, recalling how he called Pierce at 2 a.m. after the Brexit vote, a few hours to manage the impact. Later called everyone in the office. Due to the fall in the currency and bond markets. “We were able to trade it overnight and we were absolutely fine,” Pierce said.

At Goldman, Laudiadis was previously co-head of the bank’s European investment banking division and helped Greece meet European deficit regulations by arranging a derivatives deal in 2001, years before the country’s debt crisis.

As she steps down from Rothesay, Laudiadis calls for a resolution to the conflict between the UK government, the insurance industry and regulators over the long-discussed overhaul of the Solvency II rules.

“I would urge the industry . . . for some solution sooner rather than later, simpler rather than more complex,” said Loudiadis. “Whatever it is, live with it and move on.”

She will continue on Rothesay’s board as a non-executive founding director as well as a trustee of the Rothesay Foundation.

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