Firms To Watch: Pensions: dispute resolution

Taylor Law  is unique in its offering, with a specialist police pensions service. Led by Mark Lake  , the firm offers a complete appeal service to clients, with significant experience conducting advocacy at police medical appeal board hearings and Crown Court pension forfeiture appeals.
Following the closure of Signet Partners LLP, well-regarded pensions litigator Deborah Latimer joined the pensions practice at Temple Bright LLP , supporting the firm's employer, adviser and trustee offering.

Pensions: dispute resolution in London

CMS

The ‘heavyweight’ pensions team at CMS continues to corner the top end of the market.  Headed by Mark Grant, who has both a strong advisory and litigation practice, the team also includes experienced pensions partner Jae Fassam , who has expertise in investments, financial services, infrastructure, and the public sector. In addition to acting for many of the UK’s largest private pension schemes, the firm houses a specialist de-risking team, which regularly advises on major longevity swaps, having recently acted for Pacific Life Re on a £10bn transaction with the Lloyds Banking Group pension scheme. CMS is also at the forefront in master trusts and consolidator vehicle developments. ‘Outstanding litigator’ Neil Smith assists in advising on trust establishment, onboarding, operation, and funding disputes. The contentious side of the practice counts Tim Green and ‘one of the best’ Mark Atkinson, both of whom have advised on industry significant Part 7 and Part 8 claims.

Practice head(s):

Mark Grant

Other key lawyers:

Neil Smith; Neal Gibson; Mark Atkinson; Tim Green

Testimonials

‘The CMS team is hugely experienced, technically brilliant, and willing to fight. They understand the sector better than any other firm, come up with cost-effective solutions to problems, and are willing to deploy creative strategies when appropriate. The firm remains at the very top of the profession. ‘

‘Really strong pensions litigation team. Part of a large firm, but still providing a Rolls Royce service to individual clients.’

‘CMS is the biggest and the best across the field of pensions. They have legions of excellent specialist pension lawyers who are able to identify the issues that need to be addressed. They have real strength in specialist litigators. They have unrivalled resources. Collectively, they cannot be matched.’

‘Neal Gibson  – Hugely experienced in the biggest, most contentious and most difficult pensions cases.  Great litigator, strategist and tactician. Good with client’

‘Neil Smith – Excellent litigator with very strong strategic and tactical skills ‘

‘Tim Green is a pensions law Titan – really knows his stuff; great to work with and good with clients. Definitely one of the best pensions solicitors in the UK at the moment.’

‘Mark Atkinson is probably the best technical pensions lawyer in the business’

Key clients

Aon Hewitt Limited

Legal & General

BT

Brown Shipley

Atos Pension Schemes Limited

Entrust Pensions Limited

Punter Southall Governance Services

Willis Towers Watson

Independent Trustee Services Limited

Motor Industry Pension Plan

Trustee of the SME Centralised Pension Scheme – Reynards Section

Work highlights

  • Advising the Trustee of the Motor Industry Pension Plan in relation to a Part 8 application to Court for Beddoe Relief.
  • Advising the Trustee of the SME Centralised Pension Scheme – Reynards Section in relation to a Court Application to trigger a third Insolvency event to facilitate entry of the section into a new PPF assessment period.
  • Advising the Trustee of the Legal & General Pension Schemes on a significant rectification matter which was determined by the Court in February 2021.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Full service adviser to trustees, employers and providers, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP‘s pensions practice is praised by clients for its deep knowledge of the industry, and its competence in making its advice accessible, with a bespoke touch. Francois Barker leads the overall team, which is able to draw on industry-leading scheme investment work by Mark Latimour,  pension insurance buy-ins and buy-outs experience,  and innovative IFA pensions transfer advice structures.  The London practice is led by Jeremy Goodwin who has been instrumental in ‘outstanding’ work within the defined contribution (DC) and defined benefit (DB) markets, and innovative work  advising on the establishment of a new DB superfund. Barker was involved in developing the UK Government mandated Simpler Annual Pensions Statement for DC schemes. Claire Carroll leads the dispute resolution team, where Jennifer Miles is a specialist litigation partner who offers expertise in  defending self invested personal pensions (SIPP) operators from claims, rectification, and equalisation. The team has strong links with TPR, and has been developing its offering in digital areas of concern, such as data privacy and cyber security.

Practice head(s):

Claire Carroll

Other key lawyers:

Jennifer Miles; Giles Orton; Emma King; Daniel Murphy; Richard Bacon

Testimonials

‘It is clear that a collegiate atmosphere and working environment is fostered by Claire and that very much brings out the best qualities in all the members of the team. 

‘They combine first class technical pensions knowledge with a first class litigation team.’

‘Excellent, astute and friendly lawyers. They are a pleasure to work with and are very supportive. Eversheds have a very deep knowledge base on pensions and pension law. They are a large corporate firm but maintain a good feel and touch for their clients.’

‘Claire Carroll is friendly, approachable, supportive and a pleasure to work with. She is timely and considered in her responses, has the ability to look tactically at the bigger-picture and isn’t afraid to get stuck into the minutia of a case. Very impressive lawyer and one that is greatly admired by our team as a trusted adviser.’

‘Richard Bacon: Very technically astute and always on top of the details and nuances of a case. Methodical and considered in his approach and thorough in his communications. An excellent lawyer’

‘Jennifer Miles is calm under pressure and very pragmatic.’

‘Claire Carroll has a wide body of experience that she brings to bear, including from the financial services context, which is a real bonus.’

Key clients

Options UK Personal Pensions LLP (formerly Carey Pensions UK LLP) (“Options”) / Carey Pension Trustees UK Limited

Safeway Pension Trustees Limited

Department for Transport

Northamptonshire County Council

Standard Life Assurance Limited & Standard Life Trustee Company Limited

Carole Avis and Sarah Heald (representative beneficiaries)

Aon Hewitt Limited (“Aon”)

Aon Consulting Limited

Sogefi Filtration Limited and the Trustees of the Filtrauto UK Limited Staff and Works Pension Schemes

Aviva Life & Pensions UK Limited (“Aviva”)

Work highlights

  • Defending Options UK Personal Pensions LLP/ Options Pension Trustees UK Limited in multiple mis-selling claims and complaints relating to Options’ role as a SIPP (self-invested personal pension) administrator and pension scheme trustee.
  • Advised the Trustee of the Safeway pension scheme in relation to a sex equalisation case with a value over £100 million which was referred by the Court of Appeal to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
  • Acting for Northamptonshire County Council (“NCC”) as the administering authority for the Northamptonshire Local Government Fund.

Hogan Lovells International LLP

Katie Banks and Angela Dimsdale-Gill lead Hogan Lovells International LLP ‘s non-contentious and dispute resolution pension practices respectively. On the non-contentious side, the team’s detailed and pragmatic approach to funding solutions, restructuring and refinancings saw it advise on one of the largest buy-ins of the year for the Old British Steel Pension Scheme, insuring nearly £2bn in liabilities. The non-contentious practice offers cross-practice solutions working alongside capital markets and insurance teams to offer tailored pensions solutions. It is here where Claire Southern and Duncan Buchanan are  noted for their ‘excellent’ advice. This strength is mirrored in pensions disputes, with the tenacity of the litigators resulting in a £2.6bn pension deficit recovery for Nortel, one of the largest debt recoveries ever by a scheme trustee. Seen as industry leaders, the litigation team is well versed in high-stakes regulatory matters, professional negligence claims and rectification – domestic or multi-jurisdictional. In disputes, Matthew Bullen‘s practice primarily focuses on the former and Nicholas Heaton on the latter.

Practice head(s):

Angela Dimsdale Gill

Other key lawyers:

Nathan Sherlock; Nicholas Heaton; Matthew Bullen

Testimonials

‘The Hogan Lovells pensions dispute resolution offering is seriously impressive. No other firm can boast greater experience of the very heaviest cases under CPR Part 8 and within the Pension Regulator’s jurisdiction. They combine cutting-edge knowledge of the law with seriously robust litigation expertise to manage court and other litigation processes effectively.

‘There is a lot of experience in pension scheme litigation within the team. They put in a lot of effort, and leave no stone unturned. It can be an expensive process, but they produce results which others would not.’

‘Excellent pensions dispute resolution team led by the incomparable Angela Dimsdale-Gill. Handles the largest and highest profile of cases in a very practical and highly capable way. If you are looking for a team with the capacity to deal with every aspect of pensions litigation in the most confident, decisive and level-headed manner, you will not do better. Exceptionally hard-working department, with a signature commitment to achieving the very best results for the client.’

‘Matthew Bullen: clear sighted and articulate, Matthew’s clients benefit from his dedicated, supportive and responsive approach to any case. He is able to guide you through complex areas with a reassuring ease that makes dealing with challenging areas a great deal easier.’

‘Nicholas Heaton is absolutely first rate – superbly bright, quick, good to work with.’

‘Nathan Sherlock is technically first rate and very diligent and hard working.’

‘Angela Dimsdale Gill has vast experience and knowledge of pensions law and uses that to great effect for her clients. Her considered and thoughtful approach leads to insightful advice, which is coupled with clear communication leaving you with a sense of someone who has real mastery of her area. However despite her vast experience, there is no complacency here, Angela continues to strive to do her best for her clients and is always thinking and evolving her approach to deliver the best result.’

Key clients

HIG Capital and Silentnight Group Limited

ITV PLC

Representative beneficiary of the Airways Pension Scheme

Trustee of the Nortel Networks UK Pension Plan

The Board of the Pension Protection Fund

Work highlights

  • Acted for Silentnight Group Limited and various entities within the US-based HIG Capital group of companies in the defence of regulatory proceedings brought by the UK Pensions Regulator seeking to impose a liability equivalent to the entire deficit of a major pension scheme.
  • Represented ITV in controversial and long-running regulatory proceedings (commenced in 2011) which have come before the Determinations Panel, the Upper Tribunal and the Court of Appeal.
  • Advising the representative beneficiary of the British Airways Pension Scheme in numerous Beddoe applications relating to litigation between BA and the trustees of its pension scheme, which were high value (some £800m) and had major implications for the scheme’s 50,000 members.

Linklaters LLP

The pensions teams at Linklaters LLP acts for a wide range of clients. Claire Petheram is global head of the firm’s pensions funds team, which advises on cutting-edge scheme mergers, equalisation matters, liability management, and has cemented itself as a market leader in longevity swaps and buy-in/buy-outs.  The ‘dedicated’ team also provides bespoke funding arrangement advice and has a substantive de-risking practice through Rosalind Knowles and Philip Goss. SIPP arrangements and insurance advice is handled by John Sheppard. The disputes side of the practice is led by ‘tactically astute’ Mark Blyth, supported by solicitor-advocate Geoff Egerton, with recent highlights including acting for the trustee of the Merchant Navy Ratings Pensions Fund in high-profile, multi-party proceedings. The team’s focus on resolution sees that clients’ best interests are always at the forefront.

Practice head(s):

Mark Blyth

Other key lawyers:

Geoff Egerton

Testimonials

‘The Rolls Royce of pensions litigation. The team can take on the most enormous challenging tasks and eat them up. Mark Blyth has been there and done it and knows how to get cases won.’

‘Incredibly thorough in their approach, pragmatic in finding solutions that work. Good at co-ordinating and bringing teams of lawyers and barristers together with adviser input and focusing the parties to resolve issues.’

‘The team has provided exceptional leadership in a complex pensions litigation case. They have worked collaboratively with actuaries, administrators as well as the main trustee board to provide clear advice and thought leadership on a whole raft of highly technical matters.’

‘Mark Blyth’s expertise and experience in the field of pensions litigation makes him stand out as a highly effective leader who can cut through technical issues and provide strong clear recommendations in real time. His ability to communicate his advice in a succinct and persuasive manner to sponsors and advisers, see his recommendations through and work with advisers at all levels is exceptional.’

‘Linklaters as a firm has a wealth of other talent to draw on, so for pensions work that involves other disciplines (eg tax, banking, insolvency and regulatory law) Linklaters is able to build a multi talented team.’

Key clients

Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund

KPMG

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund  Trustee on complex multi-party High Court proceedings to determine the entitlement of members to ill-health early retirement pensions.
  • Acting for KPMG LLP in relation to two formal investigations by the FRC and ICAEW, following complaints made by the Pensions Regulator, in connection with advice over the sale of Silentnight to the private equity firm HIG in 2011.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP 's pensions team straddles the breadth of complex industry matters in both its non-contentious and dispute resolution work. The non-contentious team is headed by Carolyn Saunders, and has a longstanding client list of trustees, insurers, and employers, providing market-leading advice. Matthrew de Ferrars leads the DB risk transfer team, which is adept in buy-out and winding-up projects. Mark Baker and Michael Jones support the DC practice, with the firm having advised around two-thirds of current DC authorised master trusts.  Isabel Nurse-Marsh heads the disputes team, renowned for its ‘excellent and practical’ offering, servicing  professionals in negligence claims, scheme rectification and class actions. Marsh’s disputes team are the ‘go-to’ for pension scam issues, with Ben Fairhead  leading litigation for the Trustees in the £350m case Dalriada, a major step forward for scam victims. Hayley Goldstone also maintains a full spectrum litigation practice, widely recognised for her Ombudsmen complaint and TPR dispute work.

Practice head(s):

Isabel Nurse-Marsh

Other key lawyers:

Hayley Goldstone; Ben Fairhead

Testimonials

‘A combination of technical skill, fierce intellect and willingness to fight make Pinsent Masons LLP’s practice unique. They are a down to earth team who focus on finding solutions and providing commercial legal input for their clients.’

‘The Pinsent Masons’ pensions dispute resolution team is hugely expert in this field. They seamlessly integrate wider litigation expertise with technical specialist knowledge. They are also very efficient and agile in deploying differing personnel at the right level of seniority and cost for differing tasks.’

‘The leading firm in pensions liberation, and with it rescuing pension schemes in serious crisis/being intervened in by the Pensions Regulator.’

‘Isabel Nurse-Marsh is outstanding. She has very deep experience in the area of Pension litigation. She is very calm, thoughtful and a pleasure to work with, conveying a calm and effective reassurance without being pushy. She supports her clients and has a light touch whilst being very effective at getting her points across. She has her clients trust and respect. She also maintains a sense of humour and patience in very long drawn out negotiations .’

‘Hayley Goldstone and her team provide an excellent, practical, user friendly service on what is a complex legal position on Pension Law.  She provides clear, no-nonsense advice and is always very responsive.’

‘Ben Fairhead is an accomplished litigator who has excellent technical knowledge, particularly in relation to pension scams. He has an easy manner even in time sensitive matters. ‘

Key clients

Univar UK Limited

Dalriada Trustees Limited

BT Pension Scheme and over 100 of the largest employers in the UK including AXA, BAE Systems, BBC Pension Trust, British Airwards Pension Trustees, ExxonMobil Pension Trust, GlaxoSmithKline, Legal & General, and Tesco

30 of UK’s largest employer pension funds, including Diageo, Whitbread, British Coal, John Lewis Partnership Pensions Trust Limited, P&O Pension Funds Investments Limited, BAE Systems Pensions Fund Trustees , TfL Trustee Company Limited and others

Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund representative beneficiaries

Trustee of the Newell Rubbermaid UK Pension Scheme

Trustee of the Plumbing & Mechanical Services (UK) Industry Pension Scheme

Work highlights

  • Advising a global market leader on a complex matter spanning decades with linked professional negligence proceedings.
  • Successfully acting for Univar UK Limited in a rectification claim arising out of the switch from RPI to CPI – and advising on the follow-up claim against the previous lawyers.
  • Acting for Dalriada Trustees Limited in multi-jurisdictional and multifaceted litigation involving over 100 schemes with over £250m at stake.

Sacker & Partners LLP

'First rate' pensions firm Sacker & Partners LLP has ushered in a new era, with David Saunders , who is praised for his ‘calm and balanced’ approach taking over from Ian Pittaway as head of the non-contentious team.The firm is well known for its risk-transfer practice, and represented more than quarter of the £30bn market in bulk annuity transactions. An expert in scheme management, the firm also acts for a significant number of the UK’s top 200 schemes, including household name clients. Janet Brown is a lead partner for several of the firm’s major DB and DC clients. Leading on ESG issues in the sector, Edward Hayes and Fuat Sami advises trustees on corporate change and covenant protection complex restructuring projects. Litigation expert Peter Murphy leads the contentious arm of the practice which specialises in handling complex claims in the High Court and beyond, as well as regulatory investigations, indexation disputes, deed interpretation and professional negligence claims . Other recommended lawyers in this team include James BinghamArshad Khan, and well regarded Aaron Dunning-Foreman.

Practice head(s):

Peter Murphy

Other key lawyers:

James Bingham; Arshad Khan; Aaron Dunning-Foreman

Testimonials

‘Peter Murphy is one of the top partners is this field and Arshad Khan is also highly impressive’

‘They communicate in a practical and accessible way that allows good understanding of the issues. They set clear expectations of the possible outcome in advance and have been proven to be right to date, which is important for building trust in the future. They also recognise the practical difficulties that arise in the real world and how they compare with the theoretically ideal position and are effective at finding ways to bridge the gap between the two. Finally, they are responsive, stick to the agreed deadlines and provide progress updates at suitable times to keep all parties well informed.’

‘Pragmatic and empathetic – very much feel that they understand the issues from our point of view’

‘We value their diversity, specialist expert knowledge and collaborative style of working with us. Unlike many law firms they provide clear billing and annual expenditure summaries broken down per person and area of specialism, which is extremely useful and transparent.’

‘Sackers are one of the leading pensions practices and are second to none in this field. They have a very deep team of pensions experts and I have been impressed with everyone that I have come across.’

‘The Sackers dispute resolution team is first class,  covering the full breadth of contentious activities’

‘Aaron Dunning-Foreman is thoughtful with his suggestions and will always listen to what we believe is the right approach to dealing with disputes and helping us achieve the correct outcome.’

Key clients

HSBC Bank (UK) Pension Scheme

GSK Pension Schemes

John Lewis Partnership Trust for Pensions

BBC Pension Scheme

ITV Pension Scheme

Arup UK Pension Scheme

Honda Motor Europe Limited

TfL Pension Fund

GEAPS Pension Scheme

People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals

Work highlights

  • Acted for The Trustee of the Arup UK Pension Scheme in a Part 8 application to court for directions regarding a potential change to the index by which pension increases are calculated.
  • Assisting Transfer scam complaints and data subject access requests for clients where members have transferred out their benefits, to subsequently discover that they have been the victim of a scam.
  • Advising The Trustee of the GEAPS Pension Scheme on an issue regarding the administrative practice of a particularly complex benefit under the Scheme Rules.

Stephenson Harwood

Stephenson Harwood‘s pensions offering has been restructured to create a combined, single practice offering ‘deep technical knowledge and formidable litigation skills’. The non-contentious arm is led by Philip GoodchildStephen Richards  is at the forefront of the team’s pensions innovations work, establishing client-focused initiatives via an online’Pensions Hub’ and an automated scheme documentation system. Mark Catchpole and Graham Wrightson also support the pratice. The litigation practice is headed by‘force to be reckoned with’ Helena Berman. The team regularly advises on TPR investigations/moral hazard and anti-avoidance claims, scheme rectification and CPI/RPI issues for sponsoring employers, trustees, and representative beneficiaries. The disputes team continues to have a significant presence, with Jenny McKeown  successfully acting for Honda in its rectification compromise claim. ‘Incredibly gifted’ senior associate Chris Edwards-Earl also supports the litigation practice.

Practice head(s):

Helena Berman

Other key lawyers:

Jenny McKeown; Chris Edwards-Earl

Testimonials

‘Helena Berman and Chris Edwards-Earl are a first class tag team. They represented us on a fiendishly complicated pensions dispute and outflanked the opposition at every turn with their intellectual rigour, thoroughness of preparation and dogged determination. The settlement they achieved for us exceeded our wildest expectations. Their performance at a COVID-era remote mediation was awesome.’

‘Helena Berman is a force to be reckoned with. She is both measured and fierce at the same time. She is also funny, down-to-earth and very smart. Unlike many top-ranking pensions specialists, she doesn’t sit on the fence or hedge her bets when advising. This clarity and frankness is refreshing. ‘

‘Chris Edwards-Earl is incredibly gifted. He is incredibly articulate and persuasive with the written and spoken word, and equally gifted with numbers’ 

‘Fantastic industry knowledge, practical experience of the sector. Great combination of deep technical knowledge and formidable litigation skills. The firm I always choose for the tricky cases.’

‘Helena Berman and Jenny McKeown are a dream team. They understand our business and, unlike many pension litigation solicitors, they are not in awe of barristers. They chase and challenge counsel where appropriate and as a result, they are highly effective.

‘Jenny McKeown is extremely experienced in pensions litigation. Unflappable and always makes the right call – great instincts. Someone you want on your side.’

Key clients

Arriva Group

Honda Motor Europe Limited and Honda of the UK Manufacturing Limited

J.P. McDougall & Co Limited (within the AkzoNobel group of companies) and the Trustees of the J.P. McDougall & Co Limited Pension and Life Assurance Scheme

Representative Beneficiary of the SPS Technologies UK Pension Plan, Salim Sidat

Michael and Alison Garlick

Trustees of the Bic UK Limited Pension Scheme

Santander (CF Trustee) Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Arriva Group on a case involving parallel claims for damages alongside a judicial review, challenging the DfT’s procurement process adopted for the awarding of rail franchises and Arriva’s bid’s disqualification due to assessment of pension risks.
  • Acted for Honda Motor Europe Limited and Honda of the UK Manufacturing Limited on what was one of the largest compromises of a claim for rectification.
  • Acting for JP McDougal (J.P. McDougall & Co Limited (within the AkzoNobel group of companies) and the Trustees of the J.P. McDougall & Co Limited Pension and Life Assurance Scheme) on a technical rectification claim, in a matter which exemplifies our team’s experience in resolving issues in scheme documentation with cost-effective solutions, avoiding an otherwise protracted negligence claim.

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP‘s pensions teams offers ‘technically excellent’ practitioners that have advised on a number of industry significant matters in recent times. The firm’s non-contentious practice offers a 50/50 split between employer and trustee clients, with the team advising on areas of pensions law such as liability management, board-level strategic advice, and rectification projects with significant financial risk. Andy Cork is a key player in the practice and advises some of the UK’s largest pensions funds. The wider practice is led by Neil Bowden and the team was recently involved (in both a contentious and non-contentious capacity) in the industry test case regarding Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP) equalisation, representing Lloyds Banking Group Pensions Trustees. Bowden and Jane Higgins, boast significant experience in both non-contentious and dispute resolution work and ‘personify the best attributes of a partner.’ Jason Shaw‘s extensive pensions litigation experience continues to support the contentious part of the practice. ‘Reliable’  technical expert Jessica Kerslake was promoted to partner.

Practice head(s):

Neil Bowden

Other key lawyers:

Andy Cork; Jane Higgins; Jessica Kerslake

Testimonials

‘The team generally give a real sense of reassurance that the particular matter will be dealt with, and then deliver. Technically excellent.’

‘Jason Shaw is exceptionally responsive and thoughtful, with no unnecessary drama.’

‘Practical, down to earth and highly professional, inspiring great confidence and the knowledge that one is in very safe and capable hands.’

Key clients

Lloyds Banking Group Pensions Trustees Limited

The Trustee of the BT Pension Scheme

The Trustee of the ICI Pension Fund

The Trustee of the Pfizer Group Pension Scheme

The Trustee of the Thomson Corporation Pension Scheme (Thomson Reuters)

RSA Insurance Group plc

Prudential Plc

The Trustee of the IHG UK Defined Contribution Pension Plan

Co-operative Group Limited

News UK

Work highlights

  • Advising the BT Pension Scheme on its appeal against the High Court’s dismissal of a judicial review claim concerning the method chosen by the Government to implement full indexation of GMPs provided under the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme.
  • Advising the SPS Pension Trustees on its High Court rectification case.
  • Advising Lloyds Banking Group Pensions Trustees Limited following its High Court GMP equalisation efforts following a ruling and subsequent hearings.  

Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie‘s ‘rich reservoir’ of pensions knowledge is, in part, thanks to the leadership of experienced practitioner Jeanette Holland in London .  Accomplished in trustee governance, asset-backed funding arrangements, scheme mergers and corporate restructurings, Chantal Thompson drives the firm’s global pension practice and carve-out specialism, collaborating with the wider corporate and employment practitioners and solidifying the team’s presence as multi-jurisdictional experts with Jonathan Sharp . ‘Stand out partner’ Arron Slocombe directs the team’s employer-focused offering and de-risking work. Dispute resolution work sees the team regularly engaged in high value matters involving the Pensions Regulator and the Pensions Ombudsman for complex pension funds and/or investigations.

Practice head(s):

Jeanette Holland

Other key lawyers:

Arron Slocombe; Chantal Thompson; Jonathan Sharp; Tom McNaughton; Gemma Willingham; Hannah Moxon

Testimonials

‘Highly experienced lawyers in both the pensions litigation (Part 8 proceedings and regulatory proceedings brought by the Pensions Regulator) and non-contentious areas.’

‘I have always found their approach very collaborative and supportive. This helps explain to our management team highly complex technical points in a way which all can understand. ‘

‘A particular strength of Baker McKenzie is the knowledge it has of funds and the way that this is reflected in the advice provided. The team also take into consideration all aspects of law, drawing on colleagues in other departments where needed.’

‘Jonathan Sharp and Hannah Moxon:  The work they have done for us has been first class in terms of navigating some very complex issues related to pensions and tax.’

 

Burges Salmon LLP

The Burges Salmon LLP pensions offering is split across contentious and non-contentious, with both teams working closely together across the London and Bristol offices for a UK-wide client base. Richard Knight is head of the non-contentious practice, prolific in handling matters such buy-in projects, consolidations, and funding negotiations. The ‘simply excellent’ Clive Pugh advises on funding and regulatory matters. Richard Pettit and Michael Hayles advise major trustees and employers in the energy and transport sectors, while Alice Honeywill advises SIPP and SSAS providers. Justin Briggs  helms a disputes practice that has acted in a number of industry significant matters. Suzanne Padmore supports the litigation practice, which  offers the full range of disputes work and manages rectification and construction claims, and related professional negligence claims.

Practice head(s):

Justin Briggs, head of pensions disputes

Other key lawyers:

Suzanne Padmore; Clive Pugh; Richard Pettit

Testimonials

‘Excellent teams led by Richard Petitt and Suzanne Padmore. Working collaboratively together on a wide range of issues, which require a number of skillsets.’

‘The pensions team is very competent and works well together. They have people who know all about every aspect of pensions and I have not yet come across an issue that they cannot deal with. Partners are readily available and hugely able but the assistants are first class and can deal with most aspects.’

Key clients

Gleeds UK and the Trustees of the Gleeds Group Pension Scheme

First Rail Holdings Ltd and First Trenitalia West Coast Rail Limited (FTWC)

Andrew Newton (Representative Beneficiary; member of the Safeway Pension Scheme)

HR Trustees Ltd., the Trustees to the Robert Horne Group Pension Scheme, appointed by the Pension Protection Fund (PPF)

Maria Cabrera and Elwyn Atkins, Representative Beneficiaries of the Waterford Foods (UK) Group Pension Scheme

Honda Group – UK Pension Scheme Trustee Limited

Trustees of the Silentnight Pension Scheme

Phil Shimells (Representative Beneficiary; member of the Univar Company Pension Scheme (1978))

Northampton Borough Council and Daventry District Council

Cobb Europe Limited and the Trustees of the Cobb Pension Scheme

Work highlights

  • Advising the Representative Beneficiary in the largest equalisation case ever to come before the courts, which raised important issues as to the interrelation of U.K. and EU law in the context of scheme equalisation.
  • Advising the Representative Beneficiary in a case which was significant in clarifying and shaping the law on estoppel in relation to member benefits.
  • Acted for Gleeds UK and the Trustees of the Gleeds Group Pension Scheme to negotiate a settlement in one of the largest and most complex pensions professional negligence cases before the courts in England.

Gowling WLG

The pensions team at Gowling WLG offers a ‘cradle to grave’ service to clients. Under Jason Coates , the non-contentious team maintains strong scheme and employer advisory practices, though is also known for its risk transfer proficiency. Paul Feathers is a key name in the team, advising on the full spectrum of risk transfer options such as superfunds, longevity swaps, and buy-ins and buy-outs. Ian Gordon  leads the disputes practice, advising on a number of industry critical cases pertaining to rectification, scheme interpretation, and forfeiture. Charlotte Scholes is also a key member on the contentious side,  recognised for her ‘sterling’ support and advice.

Practice head(s):

Ian Gordon

Other key lawyers:

Simon Davies; Maddy Frost; Charlotte Scholes; Nicky Yarwood

Testimonials

‘A comprehensive service for clients who want a ‘cradle to grave’ approach. Can lead a client through everything from benefit structure amendment, to employer liquidation, to Court of Appeal disputes on the most technical of issues.’

‘Excellent litigation practice. Comfortable that they will handle it all correctly.’

I see the advisory and litigation partners working very well together as part of the same team in a way I don’t see at other practices. The combined knowledge and approach gives the best of both worlds, and really demonstrates full service to the client.’

Ian Gordon always gives in-depth analysis and can explain the big picture issues to trustees. Able to give a practical way forward and is an excellent support when handling delicate issues.’

Key clients

Mitchells & Butlers Pensions Limited (trustee of the Mitchells & Butlers Pension Plan).

Britvic Pensions Limited (trustee of the Britvic Pension Plan).

Punter Southall Governance Services Limited (trustee of the Axminster Carpets Group Retirement Benefits Plan)

The trustees of Weetabix pension schemes

The trustees of the Steria Pension Plans

AMEC Pension Plan

Thales UK Pension Scheme

Pirelli Schemes

Work highlights

  • Acting for Mitchells & Butlers Pensions Limited (trustee of the Mitchells & Butlers Pension Plan) in substantial pensions litigation.
  • Acting for Punter Southall Governance Services Limited, as trustee of the Axminster Carpets Group Retirement Benefits Plan  on a case that includes the effect of the failure to obtain an actuarial confirmation under section 37 of the Pension Schemes Act 1993 and the circumstances in which pensions are forfeit under the Plan’s rules.
  • Acting for Britvic Pensions Limited (trustee of the Britvic Pension Plan) in another in a long line of cases in which the courts have had to consider the scope of the employer’s powers to change the rate at which pension increases are granted.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP‘s pensions practice is a regulatory and disputes powerhouse. The non-contentious offering is headed by ‘standout partner’  Samantha Brown . Brown chairs the pensions de-risking group – a bulk annuity and reinsurance transaction practice which has advised on de-risking transactions worth over £8.5bn over the past 12 months.  The team continues to advise some of the largest corporates. Paul Lewis leads the firm’s disputes group, which advises the PPF in contentious matters and pension liberation scams. The contentious team is trusted by clients for its professional negligence expertise, particularly in reputationally sensitive cases.

Practice head(s):

Paul Lewis

Other key lawyers:

Antonia Pegden; Samantha Brown; Dan Saunders; William Glassey

Testimonials

‘All advice has been excellent and the trustees are always given clear options and advice.’

‘I find HSF trustworthy and we work well together to solve various pension legal issues. The team are also very good at using knowledge on our past transactions to guide what we are and aren’t able to do when questioned by the other side. I also find the team personable and they really care about the work and clients they have.’

Key clients

Lloyds Bank plc

HBOS plc

The Board of the Pension Protection Fund

EY

MS Amlin

Barbican Insurance

Stagecoach Group plc

Work highlights

  • Acted for Stagecoach in the highly publicised dispute relating to the decision of the Secretary of State for Transport to disqualify Stagecoach (and Arriva) from various rail franchise letting competitions on account of our client’s refusal to accept an uncapped pension liability. The case culminated in an expedited trial in January 2020.
  • Acted for EY as CVA supervisors of the TXU Energy group companies on potential pension funding obligations arising in respect of the Electricity Supply Pension Scheme (ESPS), following the receipt of claims by over two hundred pensions claimants triggered by the insolvency of Carillion.
  • Acting for the PPF in a ‘test case’ brought to obtain guidance from the Court on the operation of the Fraud Compensation Fund (which the PPF manages), specifically in relation to claims made following pension liberation scams.

Osborne Clarke LLP

Osborne Clarke LLP‘s pensions offering is led by ‘industry heavyweight’ Jonathan Hazlett. The team offers a well-regarded contentious regulatory and professional negligence practice, advising employers, trustees, and product providers, supported by ‘go-to partner’ Paul Matthews and part 8 expert Charles Crowne. The scope of the practice covers corporate insolvency disputes and risk management, with a reputation for  representative beneficiary advice in relation to rectification and/or construction.  The firm’s non-contentious practice features a public sector practice, sitting on the PPF’s legal/trustee support services panels, and advising on the Local Government Pension Scheme National Procurement Framework for Legal Services. Claire Rankin specialises in all aspects of non-contentious matters, with a particular focus on employment related matters such as changes to benefits, and auto-enrolment. Strategic hire Charlotte Rowland-Frank joined the practice, bolstering both the non-contentious and contentious team.'

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Hazlett

Other key lawyers:

Paul Matthews; Charles Crowne

Testimonials

‘Excellent for both advisory and litigious work, and unparalleled experience of how the PPF functions.’

‘The team has an outstanding knowledge of our pension scheme and the marketplace. They really appreciate that, while we have a good in-house team and intelligent clients, we are not experts. They are good at explaining things clearly to us and in a way that we can present to our business clients.’

‘Jonathan Hazlett is a tower of strength.’

‘Jonathan Hazlett is vastly experienced and exudes calm and a sense of perspective. Paul Matthews is commercially minded and practical.’

Key clients

Representative beneficiary of the Axminster Carpets Pension Scheme

The Pension Protection Fund

Representative beneficiary of the Honda Pension Plan

Trustees of the Bank of Ireland Staff Pensions Fund and Bank of Ireland

Trustees of the Students Union Superannuation Scheme

Phaidon International (UK) Limited

Superawesome Holdings Limited

Broadstone Group

Lloyds Banking Group

Work highlights

  • Osborne Clarke has acted for the representative beneficiary of the Honda Pension Scheme in long running proceedings regarding the construction/rectification of a deed of adherence expressed to extend the benefits of the scheme to the employees of a new participating employer. T
  • We are advising the representative beneficiary of the Axminster Pension Scheme in declaratory proceedings concerning the validity and effect of scheme amendment documents in relation to pension increase provisions. The case will be testing questions surrounding the application of limitation periods to member claims and the Trustee’s ability to forfeit pensions following the recent Lloyds decision.
  • We are advising an investment bank and trustees of its staff pension scheme in a claim against their former legal advisor. This is a claim arising out of the RBS Rights Issue Litigation and has the potential to be worth approximately £14 million.

Slaughter and May

Slaughter and May‘s integrated pensions team offers clients an in-depth and bespoke service. The non-contentious practice’s deep expertise is led by ‘exceptional’ industrial and manufacturing sector expert Charles Cameron. The team is also involved in market innovations, advising on and assisting in the development of the legislative framework for Royal Mail’s proposed Collective Defined Contribution (CDC) pension scheme, on which Sandeep Maudgil is a key partner. Daniel Schaffer is praised by clients for his ‘unrivalled knowledge’ and advises significant industry-wide schemes on benefit redesign, mergers, demergers, and funding. ‘Strategic and commercial’ Richard Jeens heads the disputes practice, which is currently acting for the trustees of the BT, Ford, and M&S schemes in their judicial review of the UK Statistics Authority’s industry-wide proposition to align RPI with CIPH from 2030, a proposed change that will affect all UK DB schemes and linked assests/benefits. The team also advises on TPR investigations, Ombudsmen complaints, and benefit disputes.

Practice head(s):

Richard Jeens (Head of Contentious Pensions Team)

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Schaffer; Sandeep Maudgill

Testimonials

‘The team made a major impression on our Trustee Board and they have provided excellent and consistent service to date. They have been outstanding advisors so far – not only in answering our questions, but also helping us frame the right questions to ask.’

‘Strength in depth, high quality partners and supporting team members. Always well briefed and ready to test arguments for and against proceeding down any particular route. Availability at any time to support the trustee.’

‘Very good pensions dispute resolution team, working closely with the outstanding pensions advisory team, and drawing on personnel and experience of the largest and most wide-ranging of commercial litigation in other fields.’

‘Richard Jeens inspires confidence and demonstrates exceptional intellectual rigour in analysing complex problems.’

Key clients

Trustee of the BT Pension Scheme

Trustees of the Ford Pension Schemes

Trustees of the Marks and Spencer Pension Scheme

Work highlights

  • Advising the Trustees of the BT, Ford and Marks & Spencer pension schemes in relation to their potential application for a judicial review of the UK Statistics Authority’s decision to align RPI with CPIH from 2030.

Squire Patton Boggs

Squire Patton Boggs‘s non-contentious pensions practice is led by Wendy Hunter and Clifford Sims. Known for its strong market presence in regulated utilities and working with six Local Government Pension Schemes, the team’s specialisms include regulatory compliance and investments. Kirsty Bartlett  leads the firm’s national public sector pensions group, where she advises on trustee and employer matters ranging from benefit changes, to funding and mergers. Victoria Leigh manages the disputes practice, which acts for trustees, employers, and members in all litigious and disputed matters.  Liaising with the firm’s data protection lawyers, fraud and cyber risk management in the pensions sector is a growing area of expertise for Leigh and colleagues. The team also advises on construction and rectification issues, as well as and professional negligence claims, funding disputes, and regulatory disputes.

Practice head(s):

Victoria Leigh

Other key lawyers:

Simon Garbett; Garon Anthony; Rebecca Green; Mariyam Harunah

Testimonials

‘Probably my top recommendation for pensions litigation. Very strong in the market, superb lawyers and excellent strategic thinking/client care.’

‘The team has actively gone to lengths to explain the legal process that has to be followed in a comprehensive yet straightforward way that is therefore neither intimidating or open to misunderstanding. It has been evident that whilst due process must be respected, pragmatism is also central to proceedings.’

‘Victoria Leigh is the head of department in pensions litigation and pre-eminent in her field. She is sensible, pragmatic, commercially-minded and a delight to work with.’

Key clients

Representative Beneficiary for the Cobb Europe Limited Pension Scheme

Amey plc and Trustee of the Amey OS Pension Scheme

Jaguar Land Rover Pension Trustees Limited

Representative Beneficiary for the Newell Rubbermaid UK Pension Scheme

Representative Beneficiary for the CMG UK Pension Scheme

Greater Manchester Pension Fund

Panasonic Pension Plan

Elementis Group Pension Plan

Work highlights

  • Advised a representative member of Cobb Pension Scheme on the compromise of a claim in relation to issues of failed amendments in respect of equalisation and pension increases, including consideration of complex taxation and discrimination issues.
  • Advised representative member of the CMG UK Pension Scheme on rectification claim.
  • Advised representative Beneficiary of the Newell Rubbermaid UK Pension Scheme in a matter relating to former members of the Parker Pension Plan (“Parker Plan”), which merged into the Newell Rubbermaid UK Pension Plan (“Newell Plan”) in 2007.

Addleshaw Goddard

Praised as ‘pragmatic and professional’, Catherine McAllister leads Addleshaw Goddard‘s London pensions practice. With experience acting for corporations, trustee boards, representative beneficiaries and pensions professionals, the team has expertise in scheme investments via Judith Donnelly, as well as public sector pensions advice. The dispute resolution practice is headed by Susan Garrett, who together with Jade Murray, co-led advising Britvic on setting up an interim funding structure for the defined benefit scheme pending its appeal to the Court of Appeal. Highly experienced Rachel Rawnsley is head of the the firm’s national pensions practice.

Practice head(s):

Susan Garrett, head of pension disputes;

Other key lawyers:

Judith Donnelly; Jade Murray; Catherine McAllister

Testimonials

‘Valued blend of expertise, experience, conviction and approachability.’

Key clients

Britvic plc

Work highlights

  • Advising Britvic on its ongoing court case to establish the correct meaning of its pension scheme rules.

Clyde & Co LLP

Clyde & Co LLP‘s pensions professional negligence practice is known for being ‘outstanding’ in claims against professionals and financial advisers. Fergal Cathie  leads the disputes team, which also advises on scheme construction, rectification, and claims arising from defective scheme advice, and drafting and execution issues. Ivan Wilkinson  is regarded as an ‘exceptional’ member of the team by clients. The non-contentious arm is headed by Terry Saeedi , with the team advises on scheme funding arrangements, restructurings, and closures in a UK DB context. Here, Paul Hodges  and Matthew Ambler are key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Fergal Cathie

Other key lawyers:

Ivan Wilkinson; Laura Cooke; Sarah Clover; Terry Saeedi; Neil Jamieson

Testimonials

‘Clyde & Co harness their outstanding professional negligence capabilities to devastating effect in the pensions dispute resolution world. They have enormous experience of dispute resolution and have now combined that experience with technical know how. When there is a tricky mediation or negotiation required they are second to none.’

‘Strength and depth in professional negligence matters with a strong focus on getting the best result for the client, coupled with experience and knowledge in pensions professional negligence matters.’

‘With more and more pensions-related professional negligence claims being advanced, their peerless expertise makes them a strong choice for the hardest cases. Their strategic vision was exceptional, as was the resource which they were able to deploy in massive disclosure exercises; and their case management and negotiation skills to close a settlement were exceptional.’

Dentons

Dentons' pensions practice sits within the wider people, reward, and mobility team. Providing advice for sponsoring employers of DB and DC schemes, the practice is headed by Virginia Allen and Eleanor Hart . The team’s non-contentious and dispute resolution practices cover the gamut of pensions law and the firm’s global reach sees the team regularly advising in complex global corporate transactions, sometimes involving as many as 40 countries. Elmer Doonan is widely known for his insolvency expertise and advises trustees/employers on pension restructurings, acquisitions, and disposals.

Practice head(s):

Virginia Allen; Eleanor Hart

Other key lawyers:

Elmer Doonan

Testimonials

‘Eleanor Hart –  not only is she incredibly responsive, but she is also proactive. She anticipates her clients’ needs and sees around the corners. I am confident that when working with Eleanor, I am unlikely to be caught by surprise. She is able to be so proactive because she has a deep underlying knowledge of her clients’ pension schemes. I have worked with many firms who are able to address issues when raised, but Eleanor helps solve issues before they become problems in the first place.’

‘Strong insolvency expertise’

Key clients

BorgWarner Inc.

Refinitiv Limited

KPS Capital Partners

JCB Finance Pension Scheme

Virgin Atlantic Airways

TUI UK Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised JCB Finance Pension Scheme trusteein a dispute with the sponsoring employer over the correct level of pension increases to be applied to post-1997 pension accruals.
  • Provide ongoing general advice to  Virgin Atlantic Airways as and when required on all general pension, death benefit and trust law matters.

Mayer Brown International LLP

Mayer Brown International LLP‘s pensions practice pairs deep expertise on the non-contentious side with a broad litigation offering, gifting clients a cross-disciplinary approach. Co-heads Jay Doraisamy and Ian Wright lead the non-contentious offering and are adept in advising large schemes, in de-risking, restructuring, and insolvency issues, with specialist expertise in the energy, retail and financial services industries. The ‘incisive’ Stuart Pickford, a commercial litigator, leads the contentious side of the business.  The team has particular expertise in investment disputes, pension deficit recovery, indexation and claims/complaints

Practice head(s):

Stuart Pickford

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Block; Tim Shepherd

Testimonials

‘Excellent litigators. They quickly get to grips with the details and provide considered, tactical advice on cases. They are well respected and trusted advisers. Great to work with.’

‘The litigation and pensions teams work closely together to deliver clearly joined-up project management.’

‘The firm as a whole has a low-key approach and this is exemplified in the pensions and dispute resolution teams. Their results speak for themselves.’

Key clients

Pension Protection Fund

Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund Trustees Limited

QBE Insurance

Bar Mutual (primary lawyer insurer for barristers)

Massey Ferguson Works Pension Trust Limited

Kingfisher Pension Trustee Limited

Santander (UK) Group Pension Scheme Trustees Limited

JMEPS Trustees Limited

Prudential Staff Pensions Limited

BOC Pension Scheme Trustees Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented Trustee of large UK occupational pension scheme in proceedings before the Determinations Panel of the Pensions Regulator, in a case with important implications for the future stewardship of the scheme.
  • We are representing a participating employer in the Motor Industry Pension Plan in a dispute with the Plan’s trustees concerning a claim to recover a statutory debt claimed by the trustees.
  • Successfully defended TTG Pension Trustees Limited in proceedings before the Pensions Ombudsman in a long-running and complex dispute regarding future pension entitlements.

Taylor Wessing LLP

Taylor Wessing LLP‘s London pensions practice is headed by Mark Smith‘Deeply knowledgeable and approachable’, Smith is well-regarded for his professional trustee practice, advising on scheme funding, restructuring, and security arrangements. The team is considered to have one of the leading practices for pensions fraud work, particularly in scheme liberation matters. Hadassah Shulman is a key pensions associate in the team.

Practice head(s):

Mark Smith

Testimonials

‘The team is very capable. It is well led by Mark Smith who ensures the team produces high quality legal advice. They are approachable, collaborative and very responsive.’

‘ Extremely professional and responsive firm with a clear strength in depth in dealing with complex pensions issues and disputes.’

‘Taylor Wessing are agile and responded swiftly to the multiple queries we put to them in our highly complex dispute that involved many parties. They have been a vital part of the team and their work ensured a positive outcome in a dispute where it could so easily have gone against us.’

Key clients

Independent Trustee Services Limited

Pi Trustees

Lady Cristina Green

TLT

TLT‘s non-contentious pension practice is headed by Sasha Butterworth. Focusing on regulatory advice, SIPPs/SSAS, and public sector work, the team advises on matters including scheme liabilities and acquisitions. Chris Crighton  is also recommended for non-contentious work. The contentious practice is jointly led by Butterworth, Ed Fiddick, and Victoria Mabbett (all based in Bristol). The team has expertise across matters including professional negligence claims, declarations, and Ombudsman complaints.

Practice head(s):

Sasha Butterworth; Victoria Mabbett; Ed Fiddick

Testimonials

‘They are very forward thinking and strategic, and seem to be picking up some big clients and big pensions cases, and increasing market share year on year.’

We use TLT for general pension work. The advice is on point, timely and reliable.’

Key clients

Trustees of the Wandel & Goltermann Retirement Benefits Scheme

Members of the Bic UK Pension Scheme

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Trustees of the Wandel & Goltermann Retirement Benefits Scheme in a claim seeking the Court’s declarations in relation to the interpretation of a provision in the governing Scheme documents.
  • Acting for the Members of the Bic UK Pension Scheme in defending a claim brought by Bic UK Limited for declarations as to the validity of several Scheme amendments dating back to 1985 and the consequential recovery of substantial alleged overpayments.

Ashurst

Ashurst‘s pension practice is distinguished from its peers through its specialism in rail, restructuring and regulatory matters. This focus is steered by the ‘technically excellent’ John Gordon, with the practice working closely with clients on defined benefit and defined contribution schemes.  Non-contentious highlights include advising on pension issues relating to the £7.8bn sale of  PPL Corporation’s UK business – Western Power Distrubution – to National Grid. On the contentious side, Gordon advised a rail consortium comprising Virgin, Stagecoach, and SNCF in their challenge to the DfT’s decision to disqualify their bid for West Coast Partnership on pensions grounds.

Practice head(s):

John Gordon

Testimonials

‘Ashurst are a formidable litigation firm. In pensions litigation, they rely on their heavyweight commercial litigators, who collaborate with John Gordon for the provision of expert pensions input.’

Key clients

West Coast Trains Limited

Work highlights

  • Ashurst advised Virgin, Stagecoach, SNCF and West Coast Trains (WCTL) on two separate actions in the High Court. The case was split into a pensions case and a non-pensions case.

DWF

The key names for pensions litigation at DWF Law LLP are national commercial litigation head Joel Heap, who is based in Manchester, and London partner Richard Twomey. Heap has been leading the firm's team advising WM Morrisons on the high-profile Safeway v Newton case concerning the Safeway Pension Scheme. On the non-contentious side, the firm has seen a number of departures in recent years, with former lead partner Amanda Banister leaving in May 2021 to join Dalriada Trustees as a professional trustee; the firm subsequently recruited Marcus Fink, who has significant experience as consultant at a series of top firms.

Practice head(s):

Joel Heap

Other key lawyers:

Richard Twomey; Marcus Fink

Fieldfisher

The overall pensions offering at Fieldfisher is led by David Gallagher, who has particular expertise in energy and natural resources sector pension schemes. The team has long-established experience in the electricity, transport, and utility sectors and is renowned for its work for representative beneficiaries. Jeremy Harris advises trustees and sponsoring employers on DB schemes, small self administered schemes (SSASs) and SIPPs. Recent highlights include advising the trustees of the ESPS on a major restructuring of its £46bn occupational  scheme to facilitate future bulk transfer and insurance contracts. Buy-out specialist Andrew Patten, and corporate transactions and restructurings expert Michael Calvert are also of note.

Practice head(s):

David Gallagher

Other key lawyers:

Jeremy Harris; Michael Calvert; Andrew Patten

Testimonials

Technically very able‘.

The team has a strong level of partner engagement, bringing technical expertise to cases‘.

Mike Calvert is technically very strong and a pleasure to work with‘.

Michael Calvert has very detailed knowledge of even the most technical aspects of pensions law‘.

Work highlights

  • Advised KeyMed, a subsidiary of Olympus Corporation, which claimed that two of its former directors breached their duties in relation to the establishment and administration of KeyMed’s Senior Executive Pension Scheme of which they were the sole trustees and beneficiaries.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Lesley Browning has taken over at the helm of the Norton Rose Fulbright ‘s London pensions team. Former lead, Peter Ford, remains with the practice as a consultant working with major UK and international corporates on all aspects of pensions law. The practice covers the full range of industry participants and its non-contentious expertise includes longevity swaps, pooled/insured investment vehicles and fiduciary management arrangements. Shane O’Reilly advises both employers and trustees on investment work as well as advising on the evolving ESG landscape. The team’s contentious practice provides strategic advice in relation to benefit errors, TPR moral hazard powers, and contentious funding negotiations. Katie Stephen‘s contentious regulatory expertise encompasses FCA, PRA, Ofgem, HMRC, and SRA investigations. 

Practice head(s):

Michael Godden (Head of dispute resolution and litigation); Lesley Browning (Head of Pensions)

Other key lawyers:

Katie Stephen; Peter Ford; Michelle George; Jon Ogle

Testimonials

‘The team are always able to blend pragmatism with detail and to work with others to ensure practical and robust solutions.’

‘We have worked with the pensions team at Norton Rose for many years and have always found them approachable and responsive to our needs. They have provided valuable advice on consolidated trust deeds and rules and scheme closures and mergers.’

‘The individuals I work with provide good advice and do so in a very consultative manner. The firm’s periodic thought pieces and their summaries of new and proposed regulations and laws are also quite informative and timely.’

BDB Pitmans

BDB Pitmans‘s pensions team is led by Chris Netiatis and advises on the full range of DB and DC pension scheme issues. The team (which doubled in size in 2020)  has particular expertise in benefit restructuring, advising on buy-in/out projects, executive arrangements, member disputes and GMP equalisation matters. Phil Smith leads the disputes side of the practice, where Julian Prentice is a key litigator for the team, advising on matters including professional negligence and rectification.

Practice head(s):

Phil Smith

Other key lawyers:

Julian Prentice

Testimonials

‘Strong litigation team with a diverse client base and some outstanding litigators.’

‘Good technical knowledge.’

Key clients

Rollins & Sons (London) Limited and Trustees of the Rollins & Sons (London) Limited Pension Scheme No. 2

Trustees of Chas A Blatchford & Sons Limited Group Pension Scheme

Shoosmiths LLP

David Thompson leads the non-contentious side of the newly established London pension offering at Shoosmiths LLPJulian Richards joined the firm in 2019 from BDB Pitmans to develop the firm’s advisory presence and practice in the city, with a particular focus on flexible apportionment arrangements as an option to maximise group profitability and maintain employer covenant strength in the scheme. Matthew Howarth is the disputes lead, with particular expertise in equalisation, rectification and professional negligence claims, currently acting for Entrust Pension Limited in one such claim

Testimonials

‘Matthew Howarth is very knowledgeable and adept strategically.’

Key clients

Entrust Pension Limited

Bloor Holdings Limited

Dart Products (Europe) Limited

Capita Employee Benefits (Consulting) Limited

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Newcastle based Martin Poore leads Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP 's UK pensions practice. Advising on corporate and scheme restructurings across multiple different sectors, the team takes on a broad range of non-contentious matters as well as contentious pensions work.  Suzanne Duff advises on liability management and distressed restructuring projects, while Tracy Walsh's expertise includes employer debt regimes and matters include TPR's moral hazard powers.

Practice head(s):

Martin Poore

Other key lawyers:

Tracy Walsh; Suzanne Duff

Testimonials

‘The team has a very positive attitude and the ability to analyse very complex problems that enables them to explain matters to the layman. The use of technology during the Covid-19 pandemic has been excellent.’