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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 > West Midlands > Human resources > Pensions > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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Index of tables

  1. Pensions
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Rising stars

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Led by Emma KingEversheds Sutherland (International) LLP's large team covers the full range of pensions matters and works on a myriad of high-value projects. It regularly generates mandates from the trustees of many of the Midlands’ most prominent pension schemes, as well as many local employers. In addition, the group also advises a number of Midlands LGPS pension funds. Sarah Franklin is a key figure in the group. Liz Fallon has retired as a partner but remains a consultant at the firm.

Practice head(s):Emma King

Other key lawyers:Gary Delderfield; Sarah Franklin; Georgina Rankin;Gavin Paul;Alec Bennett;James Ellis;Amanda Smith;Daniel Murphy; Mandy Kaur-Sadler;Fiona Goodman

Testimonials

'Emma King and Sarah Franklin are both excellent, straight talking and pragmatic'.

'Emma King is immensely experienced'.

'Sarah Franklin really knows her stuff, is pragmatic and is very sensible to deal with. If there is a deal to be done she will get it done'.

Key Clients

The Trustees of the BHS2 Pension Scheme

TRW Automotive

Clara Pension Trustees

Box Clever Trustees

Borders to Coast Pensions Partnership

West Midlands Pension Fund in the LGPS

Wales & West Utilities Pension Scheme Trustee

Work highlights

  • Advised the trustee of the Box Clever Group Pension Scheme (participating as an interested party) on a high-profile appeal that was brought by ITV against a decision of the Pensions Regulator to issue financial support directions against ITV in relation to the Box Clever Group Pension Scheme.
  • In July 2018,the firm advised the trustee of the BHS2 Pension Scheme on its £800m “all-risks” buy-out of all the scheme’s liabilities for its 9000 members with Pension Insurance Corporation.
  • The team was appointed as lead legal advisor on all aspects of the establishment of the £40bn LGPS Central investment pool.
  • Advising on a number of complex NHS outsourcing contracts where it has been necessary to move employees from their final salary pension scheme with Nottingham Rehabilitation Services back into the NHS Pension Scheme following a retender of the contract.
  • Instructed by the Trustees of the new Clara Pension Trust, a new consolidator vehicle which aims to provide a route to buy-out.

Gowling WLG has over 50 pensions lawyers and a notable client list, which includes numerous household names and pension schemes with billions of pounds worth of assets. It continues to attract significant new clients and its recent work has involved advising on issues such as closure to accruals, benefit changes and risk transfers, as well as liability management exercises. Its pensions disputes practice is another area of strength. Glyn Ryland is highly recommended.

Practice head(s):Glyn Ryland

Other key lawyers:Richard Black; Paul Carberry; Richard Lee; Elizabeth Gane; Christopher Stiles;Joanne Tibbott; Jennifer Lewis;

Testimonials

'An all-round excellent team'.

'A well-resourced team with real strength in depth'.

'Glyn Ryland is technically excellent, promotes a great service culture and provides clear, definitive and practical advice'.

'Richard Black provides excellent, intelligible and pragmatic advice, explaining issues clearly and concisely'.

'Richard Black  is very supportive, dedicated, pragmatic and a great communicator. He is extremely knowledgeable and experienced'.

'Paul Carberry and Christopher Stiles  are both comfortable explaining complex legal issues to lay trustees in a manner that makes them readily understandable'.

'Paul Carberry is personable and user friendly'.

'There is nothing that Richard Lee does not know about pensions, and he is fun to work with'.

'Joanne Tibbott gives clear and straightforward advice and is very unflappable'.

Key Clients

Universities Superannuation Scheme

Thales UK Pension Scheme

Rothesay Life

PGL Pension Scheme

Pirelli UK Pension Funds

Weetabix pension schemes

Fujitsu UK Services pension schemes

Mitchells & Butlers Pension Plans

Volvo Car UK

Work highlights

  • Provides  legal advice to the Weetabix Schemes.

Pinsent Masons LLP has a full–service offering, which covers a diverse range of matters, such as master trusts and occupational pension schemes. The firm is highly active in corporate advisory and public sector work, with the firm advising both employers and trustees (from a variety of industries), as well as national and international insurers. It also has a solid base of occupational scheme work, as well as a significant pension provider practice, and a top-notch pensions litigation practice. Nick Stones and Simon Laight are key figures.

Practice head(s):Nick Stones; Simon Laight

Other key lawyers:Daniel Shelley; Helen Berry; Helen Murphy

Testimonials

'Good all round team that provides practical and commercial advice on how to address relatively complex technical issues'.

'Nick Stones – very personable and technically sound'.

'Daniel Shelley is very capable, strong technically and unflappable'.

Key Clients

Aviva

AXA

L&G

Cadbury Pension Fund

GKN Group Pension Scheme

Michelin Pension and Life Assurance Scheme

National Express Group

Serco

Covea Insurance

Inmarsat

Mitie Group

Fujitsu

Keepmoat

St Modwen

HMRC

Northern Ireland Local Government Officers Superannuation Committee

BUPA

Work highlights

  • Advising Serco on the complexities of various deals arising from the Carillion insolvency.
  • Advising Zurich on the sale of its workplace savings business to Lloyd’s Banking Group (Scottish Widows) involving the transfer of £15bn of assets under management and over 500,000 customers.
  • Advising Aegon on the pensions aspects of the migration of customers from the existing Cofunds investment platform to Aegon’s investment platform.
  • Advising Just on a project to help it reinvent the market in individual annuities.
  • Drafted Scottish Widows' individual annuity policy terms and conditions.

Squire Patton Boggs has a strong market presence in public sector pensions, and its team is particularly knowledgeable about local government pension scheme issues. It has a notable profile among not-for-profit clients, but is also sought out by clients in other industry sectors, such as manufacturing, engineering, education and automotives. The utilities sector is another area of strength. Matthew Giles is highly respected.

Practice head(s):Matthew Giles

Other key lawyers:Philip Sutton

Testimonials

'The team is strong and has great depth at all levels (both within the West Midlands practice and across the pensions team as a whole). They are all commercial, pragmatic and (as required) robust - as well as being friendly and approachable'.

'Matthew Giles is very sensible and pragmatic, has a good reputation and is a nice person to deal with'.

'Philip Sutton and Matthew Giles  are  very strong technically'.

'Philip Sutton is very thorough and professional'.

Key Clients

XPO Pension Trustees

Trustees of the Aston Martin Lagonda Limited Pension Scheme

Trustees of the British Home Pension Scheme

Trustee of the IMI Plc Pension Funds

Coats Group plc

Smiths Group plc

Trustee of the TKM Group Pension Scheme (principal employer: Inchcape International)

Southern Water Pension Scheme

Volvo Cars

FKI Group

Work highlights

  • Developed a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance programme for UK pension plans, garnering more than 100 separate new instructions.
  • Acting as sole legal adviser to XPO Pension Trustees Limited since its appointment via tender in 2017.
  • Acting as sole legal adviser to the trustees of the Aston Martin Lagonda Limited Pension Scheme.
  • Acts as sole legal adviser to the trustees of the British Home Pension Scheme, which is sponsored by a historic healthcare charity.
  • Following the demerger of the £1bn defined benefit fund, the team has been advising the trustee of the IMI Plc Pension Funds on the winding-up of the legacy arrangement and on ongoing liability management strategies in relation to the successor arrangements.

Gateley Plc acts for a wide spectrum of local, national and international clients in sectors such as industrial engineering, pharmaceuticals and financial services among others. Its team advises on defined benefit schemes with assets ranging from £500,000 to £330m, and also other schemes, such as occupational schemes, SSASs and SIPPS. It also has expertise in various pension issues connected with corporate transactions, as well as on data protection/GDPR and scheme funding issues. Michael Collins heads up the practice.

Practice head(s):Michael Collins

Other key lawyers:Kate Lloyd; Jill Walters; Paul Wild

Testimonials

'Provides a high standard of customer service with regular contact on the progress of work. The team is always very helpful and helps to make things understandable'.

'Michael Collins is very hands-on, proactive and pragmatic. He is a safe and steady pair of hands and always responds quickly and makes himself available for ad-hoc meetings or conference calls'.

'Michael Collins is pragmatic and provides very concise and readable advice'.

'Jill Walters  is very calm, very knowledgeable and does a good job for her clients'.

'Kate Lloyd  is outstanding in her advice and her manner. She makes a complicated subject more understandable and is always very helpful'.

'Kate Lloyd provides very fast response times, much faster than any other legal advisors I have experienced. The quality of advice is very good, and Kate is prepared to be definitive'.

 

Key Clients

Phoenix Medical Supplies Pension Scheme

Getinge/Arjo Huntleigh

Nufarm UK

ZF Services

Charles River Pension Plan

Sumitomo Electric Wiring Systems (Europe) Pension Scheme

Manganese Bronze Group Pension Trustees

Macmillan Publishers’ Pension Schemes

A.S. Watson (Health & Beauty UK) Pension Plan

Hill & Smith 2016 Pension Scheme

Britax Childcare

Police Mutual Assurance Society Staff Pension Fund

Dosco Overseas Engineering (1973) Pension and Assurance Scheme

NCL Investments Limited Pension Scheme (Smith & Williamson)

Work highlights

  • Advising Granwood Holdings Limited on the buyout of three of the employer group's defined benefit pension schemes.
  • Advised the trustees of The ZF Great Britain Limited Retirement Benefits Scheme on the merger of the scheme with the TRW pension plan.

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP, which focuses on advising employers, has an excellent reputation in public sector pension schemes (including local government, firefighters, teachers and national health service pension schemes). Social housing pension schemes are another area of strength. The group is also adept at advising charities and social businesses. Senior associate Douglas Mullen leads on the pensions work.

Practice head(s):Matthew Gregson

Other key lawyers:Douglas Mullen

Testimonials

'Douglas Mullen is practical and insightful and provides cost-effective advice'.

'I have 100 percent confidence in Douglas Mullen's legal opinion and would recommend him any day'.

Key Clients

Warwickshire Care Services

Cornwall Care

Nottingham Community Housing Association

Trent & Dove Housing

Work highlights

  • Advising on the reduction of unaffordable pension contributions.
  • Assisting WCS in reaching an agreement with staff to leave the Warwickshire Pension Fund.
  • Advising Scope on the transfer of liabilities between pension funds.
  • Advising CTE on offering membership of the Baptist Pension Scheme to a new general secretary.
  • Assisted in devising solutions to avoid claims against NAS’ pensions for non-teachers.

Mills & Reeve LLP demonstrates strong credentials in pensions matters connected with the automotive, agribusiness, charities/not-for-profit and education sectors. Another area of focus is on public sector pension schemes; Clare Grice is skilled at advising on the management of LGPS liabilities. In addition, the team routinely advises trustees and employers on a wide range of issues relating to occupational pensions.

Practice head(s):Clare Grice

Testimonials

'Clare Grice is sensible and practical and knows her stuff'.

'Clare Grice  is brilliant with clients and cuts to the chase to sort things out'.

'Clare Grice  is doing exceptionally'.

Key Clients

RSPB

Trustees of the Wade Furniture Group Pension Scheme

Trustees of the Citroën UK Limited Pension and Life Assurance Scheme

Trustees of the Douglas MacMillan Pension Scheme

The Trustees of the Hotel and Catering Management Association 1977 Retirement and Death Benefits Scheme

Trustees of the Gifford Retirement Benefits Scheme

Trustees of the Drywite Retirement Benefits Plan

Trustees of the Brambles Enterprises (1996) Pension Scheme and the Brambles United Kingdom Pension Plan

Work highlights

  • Advised the Trustees of the Citroën UK Limited Pension and Life Assurance Scheme on the merger of the Peugeot Citroën group’s three UK DB pension schemes.
  • Advised the Trustees of the Brambles Enterprises (1996) Pension Scheme  on the requirements of GDPR and their obligations under it.
  • Advised the Trustees of the Wade Furniture Group Pension Schemeon of the impact on the scheme of the administration of Multiyork and Feather & Black companies within the group.
  • Advised the Trustees of the Hotel and Catering Management Association 1977 Retirement and Death Benefits Scheme on some complicated benefit issues to enable the scheme to be administered in accordance with its governing provisions and overriding legal requirements.
  • Advising a retail sector client on a significant corporate transaction acting for the seller participating in a defined benefit pension scheme.

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