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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > London > Human resources > Pensions > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Pensions (non-contentious)
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers
  5. Pensions: dispute resolution
  6. Leading individuals
  7. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

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The ‘excellent’ department at Allen & Overy LLP is praised for its ‘very commercial and pragmatic advice, built on an excellent understanding of complex arrangements’. Neil Bowden has been advising the trustees of the BT Pension Scheme regarding Guaranteed Minimum Pension benefits and the tax treatment of overpayments. Däna Burstow advised Aegon on the pensions aspects of its £30bn acquisition of BlackRock’s defined-contribution pensions business. ‘Standout’ department head Maria Stimpson advised the trustees of the HIBU Pension Plan on a restructuring and valuation relating to the sponsoring employer’s financing. Clients also recommend of counsel Jessica Kerslake and senior associate Jason Shaw, who are ‘excellent in the field’. Jane Higgins was promoted to partner. The team was appointed to a number of panels in 2016, including Lloyds Banking Group, Shell and Imperial Brands.

Following the firm’s merger with legacy firms Nabarro LLP and Olswang LLP, CMS’ enlarged practice ‘has a lot of strength in depth’ across non-contentious and contentious matters, for both corporates and trustees. Maria Rodia and consultant Nigel Moore led advice to MANWEB, now part of ScottishPower, on a £1.6bn longevity swap with Abbey Life. The well-regarded Emma Frost assisted the trustees of the Sony Music Pension Plan in relation to the transfer of the £38m defined-contribution elements of the scheme to the Fidelity Master Trust, as well as advising on indemnity-related issues. Former Nabarro partners Ian Greenstreet and Sam Robinson have been advising B&CE on various pensions matters. On the contentious side, former Nabarro practice head Jennifer Bell and Neal Gibson acted for the trustees of the IBM UK Pensions Trust in the Project Waltz litigation in the High Court. Mark Grant heads the practice, which includes Neil Smith, Mark Atkinson, Keith Webster and Simon Pilcher. Associate Alexandra Tomlinson is also recommended. Former practice head at Olswang Ron Burgess is now at Blake Morgan LLP.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s ‘first-class’ practice is noted for its ‘excellent level of service’, as well as its ‘thoroughness and competence in understanding clients’ needs’. ‘Attentive and innovative thinkerKatie Banks, who heads the non-contentious practice, led advice to Rolls-Royce on the £12bn merger of four schemes, as well as a demerger of all defined-contribution benefits and benefit changes involving approximately 86,000 scheme members. ‘Widely regarded thought leaderClaire Southern, along with Matthew Bullen, acted for Halcrow (now part of CH2M), on its groundbreaking £1bn pensions restructuring. Pensions litigation practice head Angela Dimsdale Gill has been representing ITV in controversial regulatory proceedings before the Upper Tribunal and subsequently the Court of Appeal regarding the Pensions Regulator’s powers to issue a Financial Support Direction. The ‘outstandingDuncan Buchanan, Nicholas Heaton and Faye Jarvis, who ‘fully understands the client’s needs and how to deliver them’, are also names to note. Senior associate Nathan Sherlock is also highly recommended in the litigation team.

Linklaters LLP’s group is noted for its ‘excellent service, and technical and market knowledge’, and ‘always sticks to agreed deadlines’. Non-contentious group head Ruth Goldman has been advising Hewlett-Packard on a wide range of defined benefits and defined-contribution issues arising from various corporate restructurings, including changes to funding agreements and master trust transfers. Rosalind Knowles and Philip Goss have been leading advice to the trustees of M&S Pension Scheme on the closure of the scheme, which is valued at £6bn. Contentious practice head Mark Blyth and Tim Cox have been representing the trustees of the Staveley Pension Scheme in regulatory proceedings brought by the Pensions Regulator regarding a Financial Support Direction. Associate Alasdair Smith is also a name to note. Other clients include British Airways, BP and Tesco.

Excellent’ pensions boutique Sacker & Partners LLP provides ‘especially excellent advice to trustees’. David Saunders led advice to the trustees of the National Grid Pension Scheme in relation to the tripartite sectionalisation of the scheme in the context of the sale of a majority stake in the gas distribution business; Saunders was assisted by Eleanor Daplyn, finance partner Vicky Carr and ‘first-class’ investment partner Paul Phillips. On the contentious side, the ‘preternaturally calm and always balancedPeter Murphy acted for the trustees of the Coats Pension Plan in complex proceedings brought by the Pensions Regulator. The non-contentious practice is led by Ian Pittaway, while Katherine Dandy heads the contentious team. Mark Greenlees is also recommended.

Baker McKenzie handles a diverse range of high-value matters, with particular strength in pensions litigation in an insolvency context. The well-regarded Robert West and Chantal Thompson have been advising Emerson Electric on the pensions aspects of two major carve-outs and the sale of a number of businesses, as well as its $3.2bn acquisition of Pentair Valves and Controls. Arron Slocombe advised IT business Atos on a future benefits review for an industry-wide scheme, including a switch in basis in two pension schemes from the Retail Price Index to the Consumer Price Index. Jeanette Holland heads the practice.

A heavyweight team’, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLPworks quickly where needed’ and has ‘excellent knowledge and understanding of complex issues’. London team head Jeremy Goodwin is ‘one of the best pensions partners in the game’, and has been instructed by the trustees of the Deloitte Pension Scheme in relation to a transfer of defined-benefit pension schemes to a new master trust. Global practice head Francois Barker has ‘a great blend of knowledge, gravitas, charisma and commercial acumen’, and has been advising the trustees of The People’s Pension (TPP) on various issues arising from bulk transfers into a fund from other pension arrangements. On the contentious side, Giles Orton represented Barnado’s in proceedings before the Court of Appeal concerning whether the trustees of its pension scheme could adopt another index to replace the RPI. Claire Carroll leads the contentious team. Clients include Lloyds Banking Group, the trustees of the GE Pension Plan, and the trustees of the Box Clever Pension Scheme.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s ‘good, timely’ practice is well versed in transactional support and regulatory matters, including investigations and corporate litigation. It has particular expertise acting for clients in the bulk annuity market, counting Just and Scottish Widows among its clients. Alison Brown, who heads the global employment, pensions and incentives practice, has been advising Time Warner Cable on various issues, including changes to its defined-benefit plan following the sale of GE Asset Management. The ‘proactive, highly organised and professionalSamantha Brown, who leads on contentious matters with Paul Lewis, acted for the board of the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) in relation to a Part 8 claim brought by the trustees of the Halcrow Pension Scheme regarding a proposal to transfer the assets and liabilities to a new scheme without members’ consent. The team includes senior associate Rachel Pinto. Daniel Schaffer is now with Slaughter and May.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s ‘very experienced’ pensions team is ‘at the top of its game’ and ‘undoubtedly a contentious pensions specialist’. ‘Well-respected’ practice head Carolyn Saunders has been leading advice to an outsourcing company on various complex arrangements concerning a scheme with assets valued at more than £1bn. The ‘outstandingIsabel Nurse-Marsh heads the litigation team, which includes the ‘singularly goodBen Fairhead. Fairhead and Tom Barton acted for Royal London in the landmark High Court case Hughes v The Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Limited, which concerned pension liberation scams. Clients also recommend the ‘excellentRaj Sharma, the ‘time-consciousAlastair Meeks, and ‘excellent technical pensions lawyerStephen Scholefield. At the senior associate level, ‘tenacious litigator’ Hayley Goldstone is recommended along with Charlotte Scholes.

Slaughter and May handles a broad range of non-contentious matters, with particular expertise in high-profile scheme closures and benefit changes. Practice head Jonathan Fenn has been advising Marks & Spencer in relation to the closure of its defined-benefit scheme, which has assets valued at approximately £9bn. Philip Bennett was instructed by the trustees of the ConocoPhillips Pension Plan in relation to benefit changes. Sandeep Maudgil assisted Premier Foods in funding negotiations regarding three defined-benefit schemes. The practice, which includes the well-regarded Charles Cameron, was strengthened by the arrival of Daniel Schaffer from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, while Roland Doughty has retired.

Always great to work with’, the ‘outstanding’ team at Travers Smith LLP has ‘sufficient strength in depth to manage peaks and troughs in workload’. Non-contentious group head Daniel Gerring acted for the trustees of the AXA UK Group Pension Scheme on various matters regarding the company’s £650m disposal of its UK life and savings businesses. The ‘always clear, pragmatic and timely’ Susie Daykin advised the trustees of the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Pension Scheme in relation to the company’s proposal to close the scheme and provide replacement defined-contribution benefits. The highly rated Paul Stannard advised the trustees of the BAE Systems Pension Scheme, which has assets valued at approximately £13bn, on a major sectionalisation. The team includes David James, the ‘outstanding’ Dan Naylor, Philip Stear and senior associate Karen Sahota.

Burges Salmon LLP’s highly rated group has ‘excellent insight into Pensions Regulator investigations and formal proceedings’. Justin Briggs, who leads the contentious practice, represented affected members of the Safeway Pension Scheme in an equalisation case brought before the High Court and subsequently the Court of Appeal regarding the construction of the scheme power of amendment, and EU and domestic law issues. Briggs and ‘up-and-coming’ senior associate Suzanne Padmore acted for the trustees of the Honda Pension Scheme on a proposed rectification claim. On the non-contentious side, group head Richard Knight advised the trustees of the Selex Pension Scheme on complex rule amendments. Also recommended are Michael Hayles, Tim Illston and regulatory specialist Clive Pugh. Clients include the Department for Transport, Western Power Distribution and the Department for Education.

Clifford Chance LLP’s ‘excellent’ team has ‘profound knowledge on the subject’, and ‘can deliver advice rapidly and accurately’. Headed by Hywel Robinson, it has experience acting for both corporates and trustees on matters involving large schemes, including plan mergers and buy-ins. ‘An exemplary source of advice and guidance’, ‘impressive negotiator’ Clare Hoxey continues to advise Babcock International on multiple pensions arrangements, including issues concerning former public sector employees and funding. Hoxey has also been instructed by the trustees of the Alcatel-Lucent Pension Scheme on various matters, including a £300m buy-in with Aviva and scheme mergers. The team includes senior associate Rebecca Trapp. Other clients include Mitchells & Butlers, Barclays and EDF.

DLA Piper’s group has notable experience acting for corporates on the pensions aspects of major transactions, as well as assisting trustees in various matters, including the closure of schemes. Group head Matthew Swynnerton advised Mondelez on covenant and liability issues concerning its acquisition of Cadbury from Burton’s Foods, and advised the trustees of the Avesta Polarit Pension Scheme on its closure to defined-benefit future accrual. On the litigation side, David Young regularly handles contentious pensions and trust matters, including regulatory investigations and risk management issues. Clients include Allied Domecq Pensions, GE and Aviva. Michael Cowley has retired.

Fieldfisher’s ‘excellent’ group is noted for its ‘quick response times, wealth of industry knowledge and commercial mindset’, and regularly handles pensions matters for clients in the public sector. ‘Very experienced’ group head David Gallagher is ‘focused on practical solutions’, and has been advising the trustees of British Energy Generation Group Pension Scheme on matters including cross-border funding and guarantee proposals, and the restriction of future benefits. The ‘very responsive’ Andrew Patten acted for South East Water on a number of issues regarding its two defined-benefit schemes, including the harmonisation of the terms of the two schemes and the introduction of a new corporate trustee. The ‘excellent’ Michael Calvert acted for the representative beneficiary of the Gleeds Retirement Benefit Scheme in proceedings before the High Court and the Court of Appeal regarding a series of deed amendments. Other clients include the trustees of the Electricity Supply Pension Scheme and AT Kearney Pension Scheme.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s team regularly handles the pensions aspects of major corporate transactions. Practice head Charles Magoffin advised the trustees of the Morgan Stanley Pension Plan on a number of complex arrangements. Andrew Murphy led advice to the trustees of the Aggregate Industries Pension Plan on issues arising from a bulk annuity buy-in with Just. Dawn Heath, who has extensive experience in insolvency-related pensions matters, advised the trustees of the Coats Pension Plan on negotiations with Coats concerning regulatory action brought against the company by the Pensions Regulator. The team includes global employment head Caroline Stroud and employment partner Nicholas Squire.

Considered ‘strong’ and ‘very good’ by clients, Gowling WLG’s practice has particular strength in pensions disputes, covering professional negligence and breach of trust claims, rectification and regulatory investigations, among other areas. The ‘very experienced’ and ‘proactivePeter Shave, who heads the contentious practice, acted for the trustees of the Sea Containers 1983 Pension Scheme in a negligence claim brought against former professional advisers regarding members’ benefits and liabilities. Ian Gordon assisted a telecoms employer in relation to claims of breach of duty following the closure of a scheme. Non-contentious highlights included advising insurer Ellipse regarding the structuring of a new product, including compliance matters. Clients single out Jason Coates, Paul Feathers and associate Nicky Yarwood, who is ‘easy to engage with’ and ‘appreciates the needs of the client’.

Mayer Brown International LLP’s ‘highly competent and well-resourced’ department has significant experience across a broad range of contentious and non-contentious matters, including pension investments, benefits and complex scheme litigation. The ‘excellent’ and ‘communicativeIan Wright now heads the department, with Philippa James now a consultant. Wright has been advising the trustees of the BG Pension Scheme on employer covenant and funding issues relating to the takeover of BG by Shell. Wright and James also acted for the trustees of the EDF Energy Pension Scheme on various issues following a proposal to introduce salary caps and a new defined-contribution arrangement. On the contentious side, Richard Evans acted for the trustees of the Kingfisher Pension Scheme on a class action brought before the Pensions Ombudsman regarding historic scheme merger terms and the closure of the scheme to defined-benefits accrual. ‘Highly organised’ and ‘a talented negotiator’, Stuart Pickford leads the contentious practice. The team was strengthened by the arrival of Jay Doraisamy from Dentons, and includes the ‘responsive’ Andrew Block.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s ‘very good’ and ‘proactive’ team ‘gives sound and appropriate advice’ on a wide range of pensions matters, including scheme closures, auto-enrolment and corporate transactions. Practice head Peter Ford, who is ‘quick to respond’ and has ‘thorough knowledge of all aspects of pensions’, advised the trustees of the Dover Harbour Board Pension and Life Assurance Scheme on its closure to future benefit accrual. On the contentious side, Ford also advised the trustees of the Sea Containers (1983) Pension Scheme as an expert witness in litigation concerning scheme amendment powers. Insurance expert Susan Dingwall acted for Swedish insurance companies Trygg-Hansa and Gamla Liv in a dispute over the sale of English insurance company Interlife and subsequent liabilities, involving alleged pensions mis-selling. The team includes dispute resolution practice head Deirdre Walker and Lesley Browning. Naomi Hancock has retired.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers Legal LLP’s pensions group has experience across the full gamut of pensions law matters, with particular strength in pensions indexation and bulk annuity transactions, as well as VAT and other tax matters. Recent highlights include assisting Dairy Crest in relation to a new deficit recovery plan for its scheme, as well as compliance advice regarding a member benefit option exercise. The group is headed by Oliver Reece, who specialises in regulatory matters and pensions litigation. The practice was strengthened by the arrival of Carol Dick from Squire Patton Boggs, who is regularly instructed on the pensions aspects of mergers, buy-ins and buy-outs, as well as advising on benefit changes. Director Philip Tooke, Fraser Sparks and David Farmer are also recommended.

Squire Patton Boggs’ ‘excellent’ department has particular expertise in matters concerning local authorities, including regulatory enforcement, tax-related issues and professional negligence claims. The ‘helpful, thorough and thoughtfulClifford Sims, who heads the national practice, advised the trustees of the KLM UK Pension Scheme on liability issues and other matters concerning the disposal of Cobalt Ground Solutions, a participating employer in the scheme, to Groupe Crit. London practice head Wendy Hunter and litigation head Victoria Leigh acted for the trustees of a company pension scheme regarding a tax penalty charge brought by the HMRC arising from an administrative error made by a third party pension scheme administrator. The team includes Judith Donnelly and Kirsty Bartlett.

The ‘outstanding’ team at Stephenson Harwood is ‘extremely knowledgeable’ in all areas of contentious and non-contentious pensions law. It has ‘great depth’ in litigation, and is noted for its ‘willingness to explore all options’. Philip Goodchild, who is co-head of the contentious group, represented the trustees of the Barnardo’s Staff Pension Scheme in first-of-its-kind litigation before the High Court and the Court of Appeal regarding whether scheme rules permitted the trustees to move away from the RPI. Goodchild also advised the trustees of the CGG Veritas Pension Scheme on the closure of accruals to the scheme, including negotiations with the employer. Mark Catchpole, who heads the non-contentious group, has been advising the trustees of the Bic Pension Scheme in relation to benefits payable to different classes of members. The ‘exceptionalHelena Berman jointly heads the contentious group with Goodchild, who ‘knows every trick in the book in pensions professional negligence’. Jenny McKeown and senior associate Naeem Noor are also recommended.

Excellent’ boutique ARC Pensions Lawreally understands clients and their needs’. Anne-Marie Winton advised Phoenix Group on the pensions aspects of its £1bn acquisition of Abbey Life Assurance from Deutsche Bank. Rosalind Connor has been assisting Hanson Cement in various insurance issues related to its buyout of a top-up pension scheme. The team, which includes Chris Mullen, is headed by the ‘extremely personableAnna Rogers, who ‘instils confidence’ and has ‘enormous experience’. Other clients include the trustees of the PremierFirst Vehicle Rental Pension Scheme, British American Tobacco and Canada Life, and the team also attracts regular referrals from other law firms. The firm also has an office in Leeds.

Addleshaw Goddard’s ‘strong’ department is noted for its ‘strong awareness of current pension issues, practical approach and access to additional specialist resources’. Department head Catherine McAllister, who ‘gives good, clear and timely advice’, advised the NHS Business Services Authority on the re-procurement of services from private sector contractors to the NHS Pension Scheme. On the contentious side, group head Susan Garrett and Jade Murray have been acting for a high-net worth individual in various matters concerning a transfer of pension scheme assets into offshore trust structures. The team includes Rachel Rawnsley, who heads the national team, and Rachel Uttley.

Ashurst’s ‘well-organised’ team ‘punches above its weight’ across the full gamut of pensions matters for both corporates and trustees, with particular strength in the projects and energy arena. Practice head Marcus Fink, who is a ‘strong negotiator’ and has ‘an excellent understanding of relevant issues’, led advice to China General Nuclear Power Group on the pensions aspects of the construction of Hinkley Point C. Fink also advised Macquarie Capital and Greenergy on aspects of their acquisition by Navigator Terminals, including defined-benefit issues. Angela Pearson, who leads the pensions litigation team, has been acting for First Data in the high-profile Dutton v FDR Ltd case, concerning pension increases under the governing documentation of the FDR Limited Pension Scheme. Senior associates Andy Wright and Lindsey Roberts are also recommended, for non-contentious and contentious matters respectively.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP has experience acting for corporates and trustees, with particular strength in the pensions aspects of corporate transactions. The team is led by David Dennison, who specialises in assisting clients in the establishment and operation of pension arrangements, including pension plan mergers, windings up, and Pensions Ombudsman claims. Norman Russell is also recommended. Clients include Thames Water, as well as the trustees of the Roche Pension Fund and World Duty Free Group Pension Fund.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLPprovides a good service’ across a broad range of pensions matters, with particular expertise acting for clients in the charities and not-for-profit sector. Team head Michael Jones is regularly instructed in relation to scheme mergers, windings up, and the pensions aspects of M&A transactions, among other areas. Clients single out associate Lee Colgate, who is ‘efficient and responsive, and knows his stuff’. Associates Esther White and Andy Williams are other names of note. Clients include City & Guilds, Westminster Abbey and the Smith & Williamson Trustees. Jane Wolstenholme is now with the Pensions Regulator.

Dentons’ team handles both contentious and non-contentious matters, with particular strength in litigation and insolvency-related cases. Practice head Elmer Doonan advised the Bank of China on the closure of its defined-benefit scheme to future accrual. On the contentious side, Doonan has been assisting the trustees of the JCB Finance Pension Scheme in a dispute concerning the application of a pension increase, and also acted for the trustees of the FDR Limited Pension Scheme in Dutton v FDR Ltd, concerning pension increases. Jay Doraisamy is now with Mayer Brown International LLP.

The ‘very good’ team at Macfarlanes LLP provides ‘clear, unambiguous and pragmatic advice’. ‘Very knowledgeable’ and ‘proactive’ department head Camilla Barry advised 3i Group on the pensions aspects of its sale of Mayborn Group to Shanghai Jahwa, including Pensions Regulator risks, price adjustment matters and the involvement of the trustees. Barry also acted for Pernod Ricard on issues arising from systemic overpayments. The team includes Andrew Barton, who specialises in pensions de-risking. Clients include Legal & General, Hogg Robinson and the trustees of the United Airlines Pension Scheme.

Always there when clients need them’, Osborne Clarke’s ‘skilled’ lawyers have ‘strong awareness of the market and developments in pensions law’. In addition to its specialism in public sector work and litigation, the team also handles data protection compliance matters for trustees. Practice head Jonathan Hazlett, who ‘has a cool head’ and ‘is strong in negotiations’, advised a number of employers (Praxair Surface Technologies, Total Produce and Hollingsworth & Vose) on the closure of their respective defined-benefit schemes to future accrual. Mark Womersley has been assisting the trustees of the Imperial Tobacco Pension Fund in relation to the participating employer’s exit from the fund, including the use of a flexible apportionment arrangement and investment matters. On the contentious side, Paul Matthews acted for the representative beneficiary of the Girls’ Day School Trust Pension Scheme on a claim brought by the previous employer concerning a transfer of assets and liabilities. Clients single out the ‘highly competent’ and ‘indispensable’ Brent Wright, who has ‘a good balance of knowledge, responsiveness and interpersonal skills’. Other clients include the PPF, Transport for London and the trustees of the Kier Group Pension Scheme.

Reed Smith LLP’s team is regularly instructed on the pensions aspects of corporate transactions, with experience acting for both employers and trustees. Practice head Simon Hartley has been advising Skanska on its arrangements, covering defined-benefit, career average and defined-contribution structures. William Sutton has been assisting BT in a number of matters regarding its pension scheme, including discussions with unions. Consultant Justine Senior has been advising the trustees of the Henderson Group Pension Scheme on investment issues. Other clients include the trustees of the Pearl Group Staff Pension Scheme, Walker Greenbank Pension Scheme and Diabetes UK Pension Scheme.

Simmons & Simmons’ department has notable experience in the pensions aspects of multi-jurisdictional corporate transactions for clients in the financial sector. The department is led by Michael Wyman, who has been acting for the trustees of the Zurich UK Pension Scheme on matters including scheme documentation and the appointment of a new infrastructure debt manager. The well-regarded Danny Tsang has been acting for the trustees of the InBev Pension Plan and Stag Brewing Pension Plan on a wide range of matters, including member disputes and investment issues; recent highlights include assisting on security, amendment and employer covenant issues related to the employer’s takeover of SAB Miller. Other clients include BASF, Gallaher and GlaxoSmithKline.

Noted for its ‘detailed approach’ and ‘good personal relationship with long-term clients’, Bond Dickinson LLP excels in ‘document-heavy litigation that also requires a deep understanding of how pension schemes operate’. Following Craig Monty’s retirement, the contentious team is now led by the ‘suitably robustSuzanne Duff, who has ‘a deep technical knowledge of the mechanics of pension schemes’. Martin Poore, who heads the wider practice, advised the trustees of the Sapa Pension Scheme and Life Assurance Pension Scheme on a flexible apportionment arrangement regarding defined-benefit accrual. Tracy Walsh has been assisting Procter & Gamble in various matters following the sale of its Coty business. Other clients include Carnival, Taylor Wimpey and NOW Pensions.

Clyde & Co LLP’s group has experience acting for trustees, employers and other pensions professionals, with a strong focus on trustee liability insurance matters and bulk annuities. Group head Mark Howard, who is ‘always very responsive, meets tight deadlines and has excellent technical knowledge’, continues to act for Just on various bulk annuity transactions. He also acts for the PPF on levy and member compensation disputes, as well as investments and tax matters. Clients single out associate Paul Hodges, who ‘works hard to find commercial solutions’ and ‘inspires confidence in clients’. Other clients include the trustees of the Pension and Assurance Scheme, British Medical Association Pension Scheme and NHBC Pension Scheme.

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s practice is notable for its public sector experience. Practice head Neil Bhan continues to lead advice to Mitie on the pensions aspects of a number of outsourcings, including auto-enrolment, contractual and transfer value issues. Bhan also assisted Lancashire County Council in relation to the pensions aspects of the merger of its investment and administration services. Senior associate Joanna Taylor is also recommended. Other clients include Zurich Insurance, Care UK and the trustees of Christ’s Hospital Pension Scheme.

With a strong international presence, Latham & Watkins’ group regularly handles the pensions aspects of high-profile corporate transactions. It is headed by Catherine Drinnan, who has experience acting for major financial institutions and pharmaceutical companies. The team includes Stephen Brown, whose expertise includes share-based compensation and tax incentives for private equity firms.

The ‘very good’ team at Pitmans LLP acts for both trustees and employers on a wide range of matters. Director Julian Richards, who gives ‘clear and understandable advice’ and is ‘attentive to clients’ positions’, specialises in assisting clients in the establishment of new schemes, legacy scheme mergers and liability reduction. Richards and national practice head Chris Netiatis have been advising the trustees of the Fire Brigades Union Pension Scheme on a number of issues arising from the employer’s establishment of a new defined-benefits scheme, including funding requirements, as well as a proposed bulk transfer of assets and liabilities from an existing scheme. Netiatis and Richards have also been assisting the trustees of the Army and Navy Club Retirement Benefit Scheme in relation to potential de-risking options. The team includes David Archer, who specialises in insolvency, professional negligence claims and trust claims.

TLT’s national practice ‘demonstrates a depth of knowledge normally only found in larger competitors’. It is headed by the ‘experienced and knowledgeable’ Sasha Butterworth, who has experience acting for employers and trustees on a broad range of matters, including scheme mergers and outsourcing issues. On the contentious side, Ed Fiddick has been representing the trustees of the Wandel & Goltermann Retirement Benefit Scheme in Part 8 proceedings brought against a number of defendants (including the employer) before the High Court and Court of Appeal. The team includes Chris Owen, who regularly handles high-value claims, and James Dean.

Taylor Wessing LLP is ‘a first choice’ for pensions fraud work. The department is headed by the ‘excellent’ and ‘very professional’ Mark Smith, who has particular strength acting for professional trustees in pension disputes. The team also has experience in scheme closures. Clients include Pi Consulting (Trustee Services), EMC and Independent Trustee Services.

The ‘very good’ team at Wedlake Bell LLPalways gives clients proactive information about legislative changes’, and provides ‘very practical advice’. The team is led by the ‘very responsiveJustin McGilloway, who has been advising the trustees of the Steamship Insurance Management Services Pension Scheme on various regulatory matters. McGilloway also acted for the trustees of the Telereal Pension Plan regarding scheme funding and closure to future accrual during a complex valuation process. Clive Weber acted for the trustees of the Buhler Pension Scheme on the sale of the employer to another company. Senior associate Alison Hills ‘offers sensible, practical advice’.

Part of the firm’s wider corporate department, Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP’s group regularly advises on the pensions aspects of M&A transactions. Practice head Joanne Etherton advised Centerbridge and IPC on the pensions aspects of their acquisition of shares in Etrali across a number of jurisdictions. Etherton’s expertise extends to the pensions aspects of IPOs, joint ventures and insolvencies, as well as litigation.

Freeths LLP’s ‘excellent’ team covers all areas of pensions law for clients in both the public and private sectors. Team head Parminder Latimer continues to acts for Ultra Electronics Pension Trustee Company on various issues following the scheme’s closure to future accrual. Latimer has also been acting for Australia’s kikki.K in relation to issues such as auto-enrolment and overseas secondees. The team includes litigation specialist Louise Wilson and associate Anne Taylor.

Irwin Mitchell’s team regularly assists clients on pensions tax and regulatory matters, as well as scheme amendments. Clients include PAN Trustees, Halcrow Pensioners Association and Hendry Group. London team head Penny Cogher’s recent highlights include advising on funding arrangements, auto-enrolment and the pensions aspects of M&A transactions for various trustees. Martin Jenkins leads the practice nationally.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP’s practice is ‘excellent in every respect’, acting for employers on wide-ranging pensions matters including high-value M&A transactions and scheme closures. The ‘commercially minded’ and ‘responsive’ Martin McFall has been advising BicWorld in relation to valuation matters and Pensions Ombudsman claims, and has also been advising Northern Ireland’s Department for Communities on the strategy and implementation of legislation regarding Northern Ireland’s public sector pension schemes. He also led advice to Guinness Partnership on the pensions aspects of its merger with Wulvern. The team is headed by Diane Preston, who regularly advises large multinational employers on liability matters.

Valued for its ‘prompt, succinct, commercial and sensible advice’, DWF’s pensions team has experience in a diverse range of disputes, including equalisation and insolvency cases. National department co-head Tim Green has been advising Morrisons as the sponsor on the first equalisation case brought before the Court of Appeal, Safeway Ltd v Newton. Amanda Banister – ‘one of the best pensions lawyers in the market’ – has been representing the board of the Pension Protection Fund in the high-profile case Hampshire v PPF before the Court of Appeal and Court of Justice of the European Union regarding PPF compensation limits compliant with the EU Insolvency Directive. Green jointly heads the department with national commercial litigation head Joel Heap. Other clients include the trustees of the Caparo 1988 Pension Scheme, Nottingham City Transport Pension Fund and Swatch Group UK Pension Plan.

Boutique employment firm Signet Partners LLP handles a broad range of pensions litigation. The team is headed by Deborah Latimer, and acts for trustees, scheme members and public bodies.

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