Pension giant planning to double workforce after Centre Square move

Pinchinthorpe Hall

The XPS Pensions Group says its move to offices in Middlesbrough’s Centre Square will allow it to double its workforce and bid for new contracts.

The company has been busy recruiting since it confirmed in the Autumn that it was transferring its staff from the town’s Vancouver House to the new showpiece office development.

In October it employed 78 people. Next month that figure will rise to 110 and it is currently advertising a further eight posts. By 2023 it expects its head count to reach 160.

XPS is not the only occupier which says Centre Square is providing a catalyst for growth.

Earlier this year Firstsource moved its 500 Teesside staff there and revealed plans to take on a further 200 local people.

XPS operations manager Graeme Hall said: “We have previously been in a very outdated, old property. There were problems with that because of all the advances in electronic communications and – in particular – how we look after our staff.”

He added: “Moving here means that we’ve got everything we could possibly need: the latest equipment, the best connectivity and the highest standard of working environments for our staff.”

XPS Pensions Group is the largest pure pensions consultancy in the UK, specialising in actuarial, covenant, investment consulting and administration.

It manages more than 1500 pension schemes, worth many billions of pounds, on behalf of nearly a million members.

The XPS team in Centre Square will be mainly looking after public sector clients, including most of the police forces in England and Wales. Management of the Ministry of Justice’s pension scheme has also been transferred to Centre Square, where the company says it now has the capacity to pursue more new work.

Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston said: “This is absolutely fantastic.

“It doesn’t just cement XPS in the centre of Middlesbrough, it allows them to grow and that’s then a magnet for other people to come in.

“The activity and interest in investing in Middlesbrough is growing and growing and growing.”

The Centre Square project was launched more than five years ago by Middlesbrough Council and the developer Ashall Projects.

Their aim was to create Grade A office space in the centre of the town to attract businesses offering high-quality jobs, with their employees also benefiting from good transport links and access to local amenities such as restaurants and bars, gyms and shops.

This would, in turn, help revitalise the town centre and local economy, bringing in an estimated sixty-six million pounds extra per year.

As well as XPS and Firstsource at least two other companies are moving into Centre Square this year. Mark Ashall, director of Ashall Projects, said: “You wouldn’t proceed with a scheme like this unless you were confident that it was going to achieve its objectives.

“But it’s always satisfying to see it become reality and be able to welcome the companies who are arriving in Centre Square.”

Crucially, he said, the development was also providing a platform for those businesses which already have a firm base in Middlesbrough to expand and create additional jobs.

Ashall Projects has already unveiled its vision for the future development of Centre Square.

It has submitted plans to Middlesbrough Council which could see four more buildings with the capacity to accommodate around 2,000 office staff.

One of the buildings would be seven-storeys high and have a floor space of more than 100,000 sq ft.

Part of the proposal has already been given the go-ahead.

Ashall Projects has been given planning permission for a four-storey office development – Six Centre Square – on vacant land in Melrose Street and talks are already well advanced to bring a major international company there, creating hundreds of jobs.