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  1. Pensions
  2. Leading individuals

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First-class in all respects’, Blake Morgan LLP provides ‘sound advice and excellent value-for-money’ trustees and employers across the spectrum of pensions issues. Despite the recent retirement of Michael Prior, the arrival in November 2016 of Ron Burgess from Olswang LLP gives the firm added expertise in insolvency-related issues. He joins a team that includes ‘extremely helpful’ associate Gillian McCue, who ‘provides an appropriate blend of technical expertise and ease of understanding’, and is particularly noted for her ‘specialised knowledge of public sector pensions’. McCue recently advised Halo Services on the risks under the Local Government Pension Scheme and advised NHS England on the status of a GP practitioner under the NHS Pension Scheme Regulations.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s two-partner team advises multinational employers and trustees of large occupational schemes, as well as Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) providers. ‘Unassuming and straight-talking’ team head Stuart Earle is ‘a trenchant analyser of seemingly intractable problems’, and is particularly well regarded for his work in the regulated sectors. He recently represented National Grid on its sectionalisation of its £17bn gas pension scheme. ‘Steeped in experience’, Ian Davies provides ‘reassuringly pragmatic advice’ to a range of clients and also continues to act as trustee on several schemes, including Prudential Platinum. Aida Mebrahtu is ‘able to drill down to the heart of a problem’ and is particularly accomplished for her work in relation to public sector pensions. The team is also ‘very up to date with changes in legislation and is reactive to industry changes’. Other clients include NEST Corporation, Welsh Water and Volkswagen.

At Geldards LLP, team head Stephen Jenkins acts for employers and trustees on the management of pensions liabilities and the amendment and closure of schemes. Jenkins has also been particularly active advising on the pensions aspects of public sector outsourcings and recently acted for a local authority on its obligations to require equivalent pension provisions to be provided by a new contractor undertaking an already outsourced service. Other highlights included advising a company on the implications of a proposed payment of a special dividend to the overseas parent company. Clients include Maudsley Charity, Shaw Healthcare and Just Rollers plc.

Hugh James has ‘an excellent up-and-coming pensions practice’ that is ‘very competitive on fees and good at what it does’. The firm is regularly called on to provide pensions advice related to corporate transactions (including outsourcing transactions), auto enrolment and changing benefits. It also handles pension litigation. ‘Thorough and very bright’ team head Louise Price has ‘superb client skills’ and is the key figure for non-contentious matters. On the contentious side, ‘down-to-earth and commercial’ litigation head Richard Locke has experience of handling significant pensions disputes and is aided by ‘tenacious and commercial’ senior associate Abigail Flanagan, who is developing a significant reputation for pensions disputes. Claimant litigation partner Malcolm Evans has been handling more than 300 cases where investors were advised by independent financial advisers (IFAs) to transfer workplace and/or private pensions into a SIPP involved in extremely high-risk investments.

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Legal Developments in Wales for Pensions

  • TRANSFER OF UNDERTAKINGS (PROTECTION OF EMPLOYMENT) AND AGE DISCRIMINATION

    I have been asked to cover the topic of Employment law within my half an hour speaking slot today. I have narrowed my subject down to Transfer of Undertakings and Discrimination, with the focus on providing an update on the recent spate of cases on service provision change and on the important developments in the law of age discrimination. Needless to say, in my presentation I shall not be able to cover the level of detail which is contained in my written paper, which I will leave you to read.
    - 11KBW

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