Pensions: dispute resolution in London

CMS

The pensions team at CMS , led by Mark Grant, has played a role in many major industry cases, and recently advised the scheme trustee for tech giant Atos on the £1bn merger of three schemes. The team acts for five of the UK's six largest private pension schemes, complementing its sector expertise with multidisciplinary knowledge of insurance, reinsurance, banking, structured finance and financial services regulation. In particular, the firm's specialist de-risking team utilises this approach on major longevity swaps. Keith Webster handles DC master trusts, Mark Atkinson assists with early asset backed funding matters while Neil Smith caters for substantive benefit restructures. The disputes resolution service has pursued a significant number of significant Part 7 (professional negligence) and Part 8 (equalisation) actions. The team, which also includes 'top notch' senior associate Alexandra Tomlinson, was recently boosted by the arrival of Tim Green, who previously led the national practice at DWF .

Practice head(s):

Mark Grant

Testimonials

Probably one of the largest pensions teams in the city. Great strength in depth‘.

CMS have probably the largest pensions department in the country, which gives them genuinely unrivalled strength indepth. What is unique about CMS’s pensions disputes practice is the way that they run all of their pensions litigation exclusively out of their pensions department, without needing any input from general commercial litigation colleagues. No other firm has so much pensions litigation that they can run all of the litigation exclusively out of the pensions department, with such confidence. That confidence comes from having so many pensions partners who have such wide experience of pensions litigation.

CMS has a very large team of specialist pensions litigators. They provide comprehensive expertise throughout the area. Unrivalled resources‘.

A very experienced team who work seamlessly across litigation and pensions disciplines, adding considerable value to cases in terms of in-depth analysis and thinking rather than relying predominantly on counsel as do some practices‘.

Neil Smith is a tenacious litigator who clients like and trust‘.

Mark Atkinson is the perfect ‘light touch’ partner, steering efficiently to deliver the win.’

‘Keith Webster – an extremely bright lawyer, who is not afraid to make new law; imaginative, creative, precise, brilliant.’

‘Mark Grant has huge strategic insight, he knows everyone in the industry, and exactly how they respond as opponents; it’s like having a chess grand master in your team.’

Neil Smith – very widely experienced in defending pensions-related professional negligence claims‘.

Neil Smith and Mark Jenkins work very well as a team. They are always quick to respond, have a pragmatic view but also understand the detail. Both would give the actuaries a run for their money.

Key clients

Aon Hewitt Limited

Legal & General

BT

Brown Shipley

Atos Pension Schemes Limited

Entrust Pensions Limited

Punter Southall Governance Services

Willis Towers Watson

Fairmount Trustee Services Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised a trustee on a Part 8 application for rectification/construction in respect of errors in the scheme’s documentation.
  • Successfully set a claim on behalf of a trustee in a matter involving complex issues arising out of the employer debt legislation.
  • Acted for BT in an extremely significant and high-profile case on indexation with an estimated value of £120m.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Francois Barker and Jeremy Goodwin lead the pensions practice at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP, with Barker heading up the overall team and Goodwin leading in London. Providing clients with assistance at the cutting-edge of industry developments, it has particular expertise in DB consolidation, master trusts and cross-border mergers. The team has recently been advising the Tesco Pension Scheme on groundbreaking new structures to make independent financial advisers available to advise scheme members. In addition, the team has assisted with the sector implications of global restructuring as well as concerns surrounding major de-risking deals. Mark Latimour leads the pensions investment practice while Sarah Swift, recognised for her 'depth of understanding', coordinates relations with multibillion-pound DC schemes. For disputes, Claire Carroll steers clients through professional negligence claims (representing both trustees and employers), rectification proceedings and various technical aspects of ombudsman complaints. In recent years, the firm has been acting for the Trustee of the Airways Pensions Scheme (a British Airways pension scheme) against the high-profile claim brought by BA.

Practice head(s):

Claire Carroll

Other key lawyers:

Jennifer Miles; Giles Orton; Emma King;

Testimonials

Eversheds Sutherland have a very large team of lawyers with wide experience and a wider spread of work than other firms which includes pure pensions, professional negligence and financial services and personal pensions. They are involved in many of the biggest pensions claims on which hundreds of millions of pounds turn‘.

Claire Carroll, head of the litigation and dispute management team is involved in an remarkable number of big cases on which experience she can call‘.

Key clients

Airways Pension Scheme Trustee Limited, the corporate trustee of the Airways Pension Scheme.

Safeway Pension Trustees Limited

Carey Pensions UK LLP/ Carey Pension Trustees UK Limited

Aon Consulting Limited

Nigel Beeken (representative beneficiary)

Northamptonshire County Council

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

Aviva Life & Pensions UK Limited

Scottish Widows Limited

Barnardo’s

Department for Transport

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Trustee of the Safeway pension scheme in relation to a sex equalisation case with a value over £100m which was referred by the Court of Appeal to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
  • Defending multiple mis-selling claims and complaints relating to Carey Pensions UK LLP’s role as a self-invested personal pension administrator and pension scheme trustee.
  • Acted for Aon Consulting as a defendant in Shannan v Viavi Solutions UK Limited, which involved Part 8 proceedings relating to the validity of the governing documents of the Wandel & Goltermann Retirement Benefits Scheme.

Gowling WLG

The 'thorough and pragmatic' Jason Coates now leads the pensions team at Gowling WLG following the retirement of the long-serving Glyn Ryland. While known for its risk transfer expertise, the firm is equally adept with regards to major buy-outs (the team recently advised Rothesay Life on the largest full scheme buy-out ever undertaken in the UK to date), bulk annuities, master trust approvals and defined contribution schemes. Paul Feathers and legal director Kevin Gude are also key members of the team, with specialisms in liabilities and group insurance providers. Ian Gordon heads up the UK pensions disputes practice, which works with a range of both domestic and international clients. Areas covered include rectification proceedings, Part 8, breach of trust claims, member complaints, professional negligence, moral hazard and PPF issues. The team was recently boosted by the arrival of principal associate Charlotte Scholes from Pinsent Masons LLP.

Practice head(s):

Ian Gordon

Testimonials

The practice instils confidence in clients by demonstrating a clear understanding of subject matter expertise supported by rationale and measured interpretation of the law. While that might be a reasonable expectation of any law firm, Gowling can be relied upon to demonstrate this in a helpful, supportive and commercially aware manner. Unlike some firms, the focus is always on finding practical and workable solutions‘.

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

  • Advised the trustee of the Mitchells & Butlers Pension Plan on its efforts to rectify or set aside the pension increase provisions in three sets of deeds and rules executed over a decade.
  • Advised on Britvic on its High Court proceedings seeking to resolve issues which had been identified in relation to the Britvic Pension Plan.
  • Advised Punter Southall Governance Services Limited, as trustee of the Axminster Carpets Retirement Benefits Plan, on High Court proceedings relating to 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.

Hogan Lovells International LLP

The pensions team at Hogan Lovells International LLP caters for some of the largest schemes and financial institutions in the sector. Of particular note is its recent work for the Pension Protection Fund on two European court cases that have challenged the UK Government's implementation of European law pertaining to compensation payable. Team lead Katie Banks, described as 'second to none', is supported by Duncan Buchanan, Claire Southern and Faye Jarvis. As a collective, they handle the pensions implications of acquisitions, master trust authorisation, GMP equalisation (in respect of buy-outs) and the various complexities relating to winding-up. Angela Dimsdale Gill and senior associate Nathan Sherlock are among the key figures for contentious matters.

Practice head(s):

Angela Dimsdale Gill

Other key lawyers:

Nathan Sherlock

Linklaters LLP

Representing a range of fund trustees, corporates, insurance companies and consolidation vehicles, the Linklaters LLP pensions team is renowned for its expertise in liability management. Specifically, the practice covers everything from 'trivial' commutations, PIE and ETV exercises through to complex buy-outs and longevity swaps. In addition, the management of section 75 debt issues, fund consolidation and contingent asset structures are also handled. Global pensions funds practice head Claire Petheram, described as 'clear and pragmatic', handles scheme mergers, equalisation, investment management and flexible benefit programmes. Rosalind Knowles assists with benefit change programmes and valuation negotiations, Philip Goss is experienced in scheme mergers/liability mitigation and John Sheppard is the go-to partner for SIPP arrangements. Contentious matters are handled by Mark Blyth ('the best in the business') with assistance from solicitor-advocate Geoff Egerton. The firm counts Lloyds Bank within its client portfolio and has a strong reputation for resolving cases prior to court action. Recent work of interest has touched on the equitable principle in pensions law, rectification of 'defective' rules and early retirement as it relates to ill-health.

Practice head(s):

Mark Blyth

Other key lawyers:

Geoff Egerton

Testimonials

Their depth of pensions litigation knowledge is frightening‘.

Highly experienced and very competent.’

Mark Blyth possesses high quality, market leading skills and insights in handling pensions litigation; in particular looking at problems and solutions from a wide range of outcomes‘.

Mark Blyth is the best in the business. Brilliant at strategy but also in the detail.’

‘Geoff Egerton also has impressive experience and knowledge‘.

Mark Blyth is excellent – very pragmatic; sensible; tough but easy to deal with‘.

Key clients

British Airways Plc

Coats UK Pension Scheme

Lloyds Bank plc

Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund

Pinsent Masons LLP

Isabel Nurse-Marsh leads the pensions disputes resolution offering at Pinsent Masons LLP. Supported by the 'unflappableBen Fairhead and the 'incredibly bright' Hayley Goldstone, the team covers matters such as moral hazard orders, judicial reviews of TPR, rectification/interpretation cases, scams and ombudsman complaints, and is also known for its tactical aversion of threatened claims. On the non-contentious side, ESG specialist Carolyn Saunders oversees a team that caters for both defined benefit and defined contribution schemes. It handles issues concerning investments, master trust authorisation, exits from PPF assessments, scheme buy-outs, restructuring and longevity transfers. 'Absolute star' Mark Baker provides expertise with regards to defined contribution master trusts.

Practice head(s):

Isabel Nurse-Marsh

Other key lawyers:

Hayley Goldstone; Ben Fairhead

Testimonials

In terms of responsiveness, Pinsents are head and shoulders above their peers. We also get excellent value‘.

A hugely experienced team, which does a combination of specialist pensions litigation and professional negligence work in the pensions field‘.

Pinsent Masons’ client base and work streams are extremely well diversified, so that they have extremely wide knowledge of the market and how things can be done. So they not only defend professional negligence claims against some of the biggest consultancies and solicitors firms, they also deliver some of the most ambitious solutions in court applications for directions under CPR Part 8. There is no form of pensions litigation and regulatory action that they have not encountered before‘.

Extensive experience with pensions litigation‘.

Isabel Nurse-Marsh has a calm and very measured style, which is very effective for her clients. She also manages her team well and allows others to shine which is a good thing.‘.

Hayley Goldstone is incredibly bright, quick and efficient. She is now firmly established as a leading pensions disputes partner in London and Manchester.’

‘Isabel Nurse-Marsh is an experienced and brilliant lawyer who is a delight to work with‘.

Ben Fairhead is an unflappable lawyer; his knowledge is comprehensive.’

‘Hayley Goldstone is an experienced litigator who wears her extensive knowledge lightly and is extremely personable‘.

Key clients

Global insurance firm

Univar UK Limited

Dalriada Trustees Limited

Chas A Blatchford & Sons Ltd (now Blatchford Ltd)

Pensions Ombudsman

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

Waterford Foods International Limited and Waterford Foods Trustee Company Limited

Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund representative beneficiaries

Coal Superannuation Scheme

Work highlights

  • Acted for Dalriada Trustees Limited in multi-jurisdictional and multifaceted litigation involving over 100 schemes with over £250m at stake.
  • Acted for Univar UK Limited in a rectification action in the High Court in relation to switching from RPI to CPI.
  • Advised a market leading insurer, which is suing two leading law firms, on a complex rectification matter spanning 30 years.

Sacker & Partners LLP

Dedicated pensions firm Sacker & Partners LLP has continued to build on its top-tier reputation in the market with an ever-sharpening focus on the environmental, social, and governance issues impacting the sector. Led by senior partner Ian Pittaway, an expert in defined benefit and defined contribution schemes, the firm counts the Bank of England and Nestlé amongst its roster of prestigious clients. Areas of expertise covered include: derisking solutions, billion-pound longevity swaps, buy-ins, IGCs and Mastertrusts. Edward Hayes specialises in corporate change while Janet BrownJacqui Reid and David Saunders advise on DC/DB arrangements. Fuat Sami is the name to note for corporate/project and trustee advisory matters. Contentious matters are overseen by pensions and investment litigation head Peter Murphy, key examples of which include misstatement claims, Part 8 applications and matters of professional negligence. In particular, a key highlight for the team was its representation of the Trustee of the ITV Pension Scheme, a historical issue requiring complex High Court rectification proceedings. James Bingham is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Peter Murphy

Testimonials

One of the best, if not the best, pension law firms in the country‘.

The team provides an excellent dispute resolution service which covers the full breadth of contentious activities – High Court applications, regulatory investigations and proceedings, investment-related claims, professional negligence claims and mediations, and Pensions Ombudsman and Financial Ombudsman complaints. The team provides an all-round, in depth service, taking a broad and commercial to all issue all angles and working as a seamless team with the firm’s class-leading non-contentious pensions group.’

The service I receive from Sackers is excellent. They respond quickly and efficiently to my requests and provide detailed but easy to understand explanations‘.

They have a quick and able grasp of complex matters, the ability to move seamlessly from advisory team to dispute resolution team, and a high degree of pragmatism and commercialism‘.

Peter Murphy is pragmatic and solutions-driven. He is always calm and assured in the way he supports his clients and deals with other parties – Peter is a pleasure to work with‘.

Peter Murphy and James Bingham are both lovely to deal with and take a sensible commercial approach to their cases‘.

James Bingham is very personable and particularly strong on Ombudsman issues‘.

Key clients

HSBC Bank Pension Trust (UK) Limited

British Medical Association

ITV Pension Scheme Limited

Lloyds Bank Pension Trustee Limited

Trustees of the Arup UK Pension Scheme

John Lewis Partnership Trust for Pensions

Trustees of the Citi pension schemes

People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals

Trustee of the TfL Pension Fund

Honda Motor Europe Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented the Trustee of the ITV Pension Scheme in complex High Court rectification proceedings, including a Court-approved compromise which resulted in certainty for all parties.
  • Advised the Trustee of one of the Lloyds Bank Pension Schemes in a rectification action that was heard by the Court in December 2019.
  • Advised the Trustee of the HSBC Bank (UK) Pension Scheme in relation to a wide number of member complaints including a significant number of complaints to the Pensions Ombudsman.

Stephenson Harwood

Stephenson Harwood's pensions disputes is proficient in navigating the expanding territory of sector legislation, expertly handling cases concerning referrals of actuaries to regulatory bodies, the handling of client money and moral hazard. Led by representative beneficiary expert Helena Berman and the 'measured and astute' Philip Goodchild, it regularly handles Pensions Regulator and Financial Conduct Authority cases. A recent highlight for the firm was advising on Arriva's challenge to the UK Government’s management of risk in rail procurement. The 'very popularMark Catchpole leads on non-contentious matters. Supported by Graham Wrightson, 'a very sound lawyer with great judgement', the team is notable for handling advisory matters for both trustees and sponsors, covering buy-ins, transfers to DC Trusts and increase exchange options. The well-regarded Stephen Richards has strengthened the team since joining as a partner from Allen & Overy LLP in mid-2018.

Practice head(s):

Helena Berman; Philip Goodchild

Testimonials

Small but very committed and hands-on; as good a service as a client would get from a larger (and more expensive) firm‘.

They have tremendous experience in the field and fight their client’s corner with great tenacity. As I have heard others say more than once, this is the team that you would want to defend you‘.

Stephenson Harwood are on an amazing run of form at present. Their reported cases over the last few years are remarkable, and their success is built on great judgement as to how a case will play out, together with being genuinely lovely to work with; organised, reasonable, pragmatic, fair … but always delivering great results for their clients‘.

The team is distinguished by a very high level of technical competence, allied with a very good understanding of litigation, particularly as it is conducted in the pensions sphere‘.

Helena Berman is very enjoyable to work with – she has vast experience and can advise off the cuff on how things are likely to work out in practice‘.

Helena Berman combines attention to detail, tactical judgement and determination to deliver a fantastic service for her clients. She is someone you want to have on your side and not be against‘.

Philip Goodchild is measured and astute, with great instincts for the achievable outcome of litigation. Of the half dozen cases I’ve worked on with Philip, he has simply never lost a case‘.

Key clients

Arriva Group

Honda Motor Europe Limited and Honda of the UK Manufacturing Limited

Michael and Alison Garlick

Mercer Limited, Sedgwick Noble Lowndes Limited and Sedgwick Financial Services Limited

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

Trustees of the Bic UK Limited Pension Scheme

Work highlights

  • Acted for Arriva Group on parallel claims for damages alongside a judicial review, challenging the DfT’s procurement process and Arriva’s (related) bid disqualification. The case involved detailed actuarial evidence, complex confidentiality restrictions, and arose from one of the Pension Regulator’s largest investigations, into the Railways Pension Scheme.
  • Advised Honda Motor Europe Limited and Honda of the UK Manufacturing Limited on what was anticipated to be the largest rectification claim to be heard in 2018.
  • Helped Mercer Limited, Sedgwick Noble Lowndes Limited and Sedgwick Financial Services Limited to defeat a strike out/summary judgment application brought by a third party, which was ultimately dismissed, with the third party subject to an adverse costs order.

Baker McKenzie

The hugely experienced Jeanette Holland heads up the pensions practice in Baker McKenzie's London office. She is supported by Arron Slocombe, 'outstanding adviser' Robert West and Chantal Thompson, an expert in asset-backed funding arrangements, scheme mergers and corporate restructurings. Recent case highlights include advising on pensions aspects of GSK's joint venture with Pfizer (assisted by Jonathan Sharp) and the withdrawal of Trinity College from the Universities Superannuation Scheme. Associates Tom McNaughton and Lauren Awoyinka offer proficiency in bespoke funding and pro bono charity work. On the contentious side, the firm has argued in the High Court on RPI/CPI interpretation, participated in high value TPR investigations and has a significant track record in dealings with the Pensions Ombudsman. Where necessary, it has also pursued auto-enrolment compliance (as it relates to the gig economy) and taken critical matters to the European Court of Justice. Solicitor advocate Gemma Willingham is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Jeanette Holland

Testimonials

Bakers has a strong pensions disputes practice. The pensions lawyers are technically excellent with an in-depth knowledge of the subject‘.

The team at Baker McKenzie demonstrate excellent client service and we have confidence that they will always meet an agreed deadline for providing work. The team also take into consideration all aspects of law, drawing on colleagues in other departments where needed, and are always fully up to speed on regulatory changes and developments‘.

Bakers have comprehensive pensions coverage with in-depth knowledge and an ability to respond cogently and quickly to all matters arising‘.

Jeanette Holland and Jonathan Sharp particularly stand out. On the pure litigation side Gemma Willingham is an engaging and focused litigator‘.

The individuals we work with demonstrate expert knowledge and experience on a wide range of pensions law.’

‘Jeanette Holland and Tom McNaughton demonstrate knowledge of legal matters outside of pensions and communicate effectively with various stakeholders‘.

Burges Salmon LLP

Led by Richard Knight, a specialist in GMP equalisation, reconciliation and GDPR, the pensions team at Burges Salmon LLP counts Panasonic and Honda as key clients. The large practice works with hundreds of trustee and employer clients across both the public and private sectors, and is notable for being on both the central and local government legal panels for pensions work. For contentious matters, the offering is steered by Justin Briggs, 'a real rainmaker' with extensive experience in the technical aspects of EU law. More broadly, the team handles cases relating to professional negligence, equalisation controversy, Ombudsman complaints and declaratory proceedings. Key personnel include the 'excellent' Suzanne Padmore, 'problem solver' Clive Pugh, the 'efficientRichard Pettit and public sector expert Michael Hayles.

Practice head(s):

Justin Briggs

Testimonials

One of the best pension dispute teams in the country‘.

They are extremely influential in the marketplace because of the superbly high quality of the work that they get. They have been involved in so much top litigation in the last few years; the quality and consistency of their caseload is just higher than other firms‘.

I would place this department at Burges Salmon at the top of this section of the profession. The senior members of the team are enormously experienced. The ethos is excellent: all members work well together, there is good humour on all sides, and the information and advice given to clients is lucid and helpful‘.

A great team with a wealth of experience. Involved in some of the biggest pieces of litigation in recent years‘.

Justin Briggs is a real rainmaker, and seems to embody their pensions litigation department. He is extremely bright and has great depth of knowledge. He is also not afraid to consider and tackle novel arguments‘.

Very easy to work with and unpretentious. Justin Briggs is responsible for the firm’s ever growing presence in pensions litigation‘.

Their knowledge of the pensions industry, sense of judgement and communication are outstanding‘.

Justin Briggs is an excellent lawyer who will focus on getting the job done with the available resources. A good tactician.’

‘Suzanne Padmore is an excellent lawyer who will identify the key points.’

‘Richard Pettit will manage the most intricate matters with care and efficiency‘.

Key clients

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))

Trustees of the Sea Containers 1990 Pension Scheme

Trustees of the Moeller Electric Group Pension Scheme

Financial Services Compensation Scheme Limited (FSCS)

Work highlights

  • Advised a Representative Beneficiary and member of the Safeway Pension Scheme in the largest equalisation case ever to come before the courts.
  • Advised a Representative Beneficiary and member of the Univar Company Pension Scheme in a case which could be significant in clarifying and shaping the law on estoppel in relation to member benefits.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

The pensions team at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP handles a wide range of non-contentious matters, with a strong record of work on complex bulk annuity and reinsurance transactions. The practice has particular expertise in the energy sector where it represents the National Grid, the Trustees of the Ballylumford Power Pension Scheme and E.ON. Aside from this, the firm is equally adept at handling matters in the telecoms, media and technology industries, assisting with GMP equalisation, funding obligations, de-risking and buy-outs. Samantha Brown 'combines exceptional technical ability, commercial and strategic awareness and client handling skills', handling both contentious and non-contentious matters, working alongside Rachel Pinto and senior associate Michael Aherne. Major cases the firm has been involved with in recent years have included acting for Lloyds Banking Group in the landmark High Court equal pay proceedings concerning the need to equalise members' benefits for the effect of Guaranteed Minimum Pensions. Professional negligence expert Paul Lewis is another key figure for pensions disputes, while 'incredibly sharp' senior associate Antonia Pegden is also well-regarded.

Practice head(s):

Paul Lewis

Other key lawyers:

Antonia Pegden

Testimonials

They provide strong strategic guidance and aren’t afraid to give a firm view. On technical pensions law, they are excellent‘.

A very good mix of pensions partners and associates, and specialist non-pensions litigators who also assist‘.

The HSF team are willing to go the extra mile for their client and give it their all. They also provide very clear and commercial advice focused on what it is in the client’s best interests‘.

Proactive, willing to help and always available. Good insight with an eye on the wider picture. Routinely go beyond simply ‘the law’ to propose workable practical solutions to issues‘.

Samantha Brown is a genius and one of overall best partners in the City; she combines exceptional technical ability, commercial and strategic awareness and client handling skills.’

‘Antonia Pegden adds real value to any team.’

Sam Brown is a first-class litigator whose performance is informed by her very high level non-contentious work.

‘Antonia Pegden is a very able and experienced senior associate who provides excellent support‘.

Antonia Pegden is a pleasure to work with. Antonia is incredibly sharp and efficient; her advice is clear and concise. I can not recommend her highly enough‘.

Key clients

Lloyds Bank plc

HBOS plc

The Board of the Pension Protection Fund

EY

MS Amlin

Barbican Insurance

Tindall Riley trading as Libra Managers

Stagecoach Group plc

Work highlights

  • Continue to act for Lloyds Banking Group in connection with the landmark High Court equal pay proceedings concerning the need to equalise members’ benefits for the effect of Guaranteed Minimum Pensions.
  • Advised EY as CVA supervisors of the TXU Energy group companies on potential pension funding obligations arising in respect of the Electricity Supply Pension Scheme, following the receipt of claims by over two hundred pensions claimants triggered by the insolvency of Carillion.
  • Acted for Stagecoach in a dispute relating to the highly publicised decision of the Secretary of State for Transport to disqualify Stagecoach (and Arriva) from various rail franchise letting competitions on account of the refusal to accept an uncapped pension liability.

Osborne Clarke LLP

At Osborne Clarke LLP, the pensions practice is led by the well-regarded 'industry insider' Jonathan Hazlett. Attracting clients from the employer, trustee, membership and consultancy sides, it is particularly known for its expertise in professional negligence claims. In addition, the team covers complex Part 8 rectification issues, scheme construction applications and  investigations by the Pensions Regulator. Moreover, clients can benefit from the team's strong track record on risk management and claims emanating from corporate insolvency and restructuring. On the non-contentious side, big-ticket instructions are pursued for both national and international interests. Recent highlights include: liability management in relation to documentation errors, pensions advice on multibillion-pound mergers, high profile scheme failures and occupational scheme issues arising from ESG investment. Key team members include Charles Crowne, 'terrific' senior associate Katherine King and Claire Rankin, who joined as a partner from Burges Salmon LLP in 2019.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Hazlett

Other key lawyers:

Charles Crowne; Katherine King

Testimonials

Osborne Clarke are perhaps best known for acting for members but they have extensive experience of acting for trustees as well as employers‘.

The team has excellent senior associates who are able to run and manage the day to day, drawing on partner input where it will provide the most value. The team is proactive and understands the commercial drivers of their clients‘.

Broad range of experience across the field. Regularly involved in the key pieces of litigation‘.

Jonathan Hazlett and Katherine King provide a London-quality service from OC’s Bristol office‘.

Jonathan Hazlett probably knows more about the PPF and the difficulties likely to arise in tricky cases than any other practitioner, due at least in part to the substantial amount of independent trustee work he also does. Katherine King offers very good litigation support‘.

Jonathan Hazlett is an industry insider, always aware of latest developments.’

‘Katherine King is a terrific lawyer, she has a great eye for detail whilst able to retain oversight of the big picture‘.

Key clients

Representative beneficiary of the Axminster Carpets Pension Scheme

The Pension Protection Fund

Representative beneficiary of the Honda Pension Plan

Trustees of the ColArt Pension Scheme and a representative beneficiary of the ColArt Pension Scheme

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

Trustees of the Students Union Superannuation Scheme

Phaidon International (UK) Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for a representative beneficiary of the Honda Pension Plan 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.
  • Acted for both the trustees of the ColArt Pension Scheme and a representative beneficiary in connection with rectification proceedings to rectify an error in the scheme’s deed and rules.
  • Advised a multinational recruitment business on a substantial fine issued by the Pensions Regulator under their escalating penalty powers following auto-enrolment breaches.

Slaughter and May

Handling some of the largest schemes in the UK, the pensions team at Slaughter and May also counts premier clients such as Walmart and Royal Mail within its portfolio. Recent highlights include advising on the Rothesay Life-Asda Group £3.8bn buy-in/buy-out, assisting with Royal Mail's proposed collective money purchase scheme, as well as advising on the whole range of issues for the Railways Pension Trustee Company. The team lead is Charles Cameron, a specialist in the industrial and manufacturing sectors. He is supported by 'original thinker' Sandeep Maudgil (the 'go-to' for collective benefit schemes), 'intellectual giant' Daniel Schaffer (for mergers, demergers and covenants) and the 'very pragmatic' restructuring specialist Philip Linnard. Associates Chris Sharpe and Isobel Carruthers are additional names to note. For dispute resolution, the firm's offering includes experts Sarah Lee and Richard Jeens. Primarily handling work for major clients (such as the Trustees of the BT Pension Scheme), it undertakes High Court applications, professional negligence claims, mediation, benefits disputes and a multiplicity of ombudsman complaints.

Practice head(s):

Charles Cameron; Sarah Lee

Testimonials

Slaughter and May are the pre-eminent firm in so many areas. Their movement into the pensions disputes field has been relatively recent, and has coincided with the gearing up of their already excellent pensions department to deal with more litigious matters (which in its turn has coincided with the arrival of the exceptional Dan Schaffer). Like everything the firm does, the movement into the area has been impressive‘.

I think what helps Slaughter and May stand out is the exceptionally high calibre of the people they employee through all levels, from trainees to partners. Our experience with them over many years has allowed us to build up a very good understanding of each other. The material they produce is always very carefully considered and in great detail. If I had to pick out one aspect as to what differentiates them from others I would have to say the quality of their associates‘.

The quality and thoroughness of the output was very impressive. They were committed to building their own understanding of the facts from the bottom up and at no point did they shy away from the scale of the endeavour. They applied real intellectual rigour combined with the resources to deal with a huge volume of material and pulled these together into an exceptionally coherent and clear report‘.

Daniel Schaffer is the most brilliant pensions lawyer in the business. Dynamic, passionately committed, and with unrivalled expertise‘.

‘Dan Schaffer is indefatigable in applying a great intellect to client’s interests‘.

Highly knowledgeable and appreciative of clients concerns. Able to see things from our perspective. Sandy Maudgil and Richard Jeens are exceptional‘.

We have had Slaughter and May as our legal advisers for over 25 years and this has been predominantly down to the people who have been on our account. Charles Cameron is our partner and had enormous shoes to fill when he took over our account from Philip Bennett who has always been regarded as one of the top pension lawyers in the UK. A very tough act to follow, but Charles has managed to do it with his extensive knowledge and his own style of friendly pragmatism without losing the toughness that is sometimes called for in negotiations/disputes. The associates we have had have always been technically exceptional but also able to explain complex issues to non-legal people‘.

Key clients

Trustee Board of Universities Superannuation Scheme

Trustees of the BT Pension Scheme

Work highlights

  • Undertook an independent investigation into the conduct of one of the members of the Trustee Board of Universities Superannuation Scheme.
  • Advised the Trustees of the BT Pension Scheme in relation to BT’s unsuccessful application to the Supreme Court for permission to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s decision on indexation.

Squire Patton Boggs

The pensions practice group at Squire Patton Boggs is led by Clifford Sims and Wendy Hunter, who heads up the London team. They are assisted by 'first rate practitioner' Kirsty Bartlett, an expert on interactions with the Pensions Regulator. In particular, the team works with a significant number of regulated utility clients. The pensions disputes offering is led from Manchester by Victoria Leigh, an 'unflappable' practitioner with expertise in public sector pensions, as well as the intricacies surrounding tax matters, risk insurance, cyber-attacks and breaches of auto-enrolment. The national pensions disputes team also includes a number of key practitioners in Birmingham, while 'tirelessly devoted' Manchester associate Rebecca Green is also recommended. More broadly, the firm is known for its prowess in professional negligence (with significant emphasis on financial services) and its knowledge of self-administered schemes.

Practice head(s):

Victoria Leigh

Testimonials

Squire Patton Boggs pulled out all the stops to help us when we were in need of urgent advice. Victoria Leigh marshalled a team that was calm in a crisis and managed to turn round a situation where we were on the back foot and facing a substantial claim into one much more manageable in terms of both quantum and timescales. They matched an aggressive opponent with their own tenacity and quickly got to grips with an area of law that was both complex and rapidly developing‘.

SPB are true experts in pensions disputes. The expansive knowledge and experience they provide in every case is standout. My experience is that they combine that with a real commercial eye on practical solutions for a client and a determination to get a pragmatic outcome at sensible cost.’

Pensions disputes often involve long nights, expensive decisions and gruelling workloads. Client management skills, and frankly just pleasant people to work with, are increasingly important.’

In my view Victoria Leigh and her team stand out for three reasons: first, its client service/value for money; second, their willingness to go above and beyond in providing a full service; and third, being so nice to work with.

‘They combine that with a real commercial eye on practical solutions for a client and a determination to get a pragmatic outcome at sensible cost‘.

It is difficult to think of partners in other firms with comparable knowledge and experience in this field to Victoria Leigh. She consistently deftly deploys that expertise to secure commercial outcomes for her clients. She is unflappable. Victoria is precisely the individual you want in your corner. There is a notable difference in her approach to many competitors in that she is very much a team player. It is also worth noting the efforts Victoria goes to to develop her team and give opportunities and support to more junior lawyers‘.

Rebecca Green stands out as an associate. Rebecca conducts litigation far beyond her PQE. She combines being a very reliable and safe pair of hands, with a creative approach. Rebecca is willing to consider different strategic options and flexibly responds to each case on its own merits. She is tirelessly devoted to client outcomes. She stands out from competitors for her ability to analyse the chess-moves involved in complex litigation, and lead (or, at the bare minimum, meaningfully contribute) to team discussions. She can be trusted to run matters on her own which others her PQE would require supervision on‘.

Key clients

Trustee of the Jaguar Land Rover Pension Scheme

20-20 Trustees Limited

Southern Water Pensions Trustees

Representative Beneficiary for the Lloyds Bank plc No.1 Pension Scheme

Capital Cranfield Trustees

Mekatek Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised a Representative Beneficiary for the Lloyds Bank plc No.1 Pension Scheme in an application for rectification of three deeds of the Lloyds Bank plc No.1 Pension Scheme.
  • Assisted a Trustee of a scheme in the automotive sector with a judicial review in relation to the PPF levy.
  • Provided support to a multi-billion pound pension scheme seeking recovery of numerous overpayments, often made as a result of fraud on the part of the recipients.

Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard's pensions offering handles matters relating to trustee support, the sector impact of corporate transactions, negligence claims and liberation fraud. Catherine McAllisterRachel Rawnsley and Susan Garrett are the key partners.

Practice head(s):

Rachel Rawnsley

Allen & Overy LLP

The 'market-leading' non-contentious pensions team at Allen & Overy LLP is headed up by Neil Bowden, who has substantive experience in liability management. More broadly, the offering is split on a 50/50 basis between employer and trustee clients and covers legal areas such as advice on major strategic decisions and high-profile rectification projects (with an emphasis on those featuring significant financial/industrial risk). A recent highlight for the firm has been representing Lloyds Banking Group Pensions Trustees against Lloyds Bank in the industry test case regarding GMP equalisation. Key personnel include Jane Higgins, who has a 'remarkable breadth of experience', the 'authoritative and very commercial' Andy Cork, and technical expert Jessica Kerslake. On the contentious side, the firm's offering includes 'very reassuring' counsel Jason Shaw. He has proficiency in litigation involving the rectification of documents, professional negligence and claims by trustees against both administrators and advisers.

Practice head(s):

Neil Bowden

Other key lawyers:

Jason Shaw; Jane Higgins

Testimonials

‘A first-class team both in terms of individuals and depth of knowledge’.

‘Very responsive, practical and well-informed. Does not seek to maximise drama, but rather to get to the right result.’

‘The team can be trusted to produce an excellent piece of work. The advice is clear even when the matters are complex. They are also great people and treat you as a person, not a client’.

‘Jason Shaw has great command the facts, is 100% committed to the client and always calm and focused on achieving the result for the client’.

‘Jason Shaw is a pleasure to deal with’.

‘Jason Shaw is very reassuring and can be trusted to produce great work. He can make complex matters clear, and is very personable’.

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.

Ashurst

Ashurst advises clients on some of the most complex aspects of pensions law, including the multiple intricacies of both defined benefit and defined contribution schemes. The London pensions team is led by the 'highly knowledgeable' John Gordon, and has recently been advising Virgin, Stagecoach and SNCF on their legal challenge to the DfT's disqualification of their West Coast Partnership bid over pensions issues. The firm's non-contentious work covers the full spectrum of rail industry pensions issues, particularly in relation to negotiations with the regulator. Clients further benefit from the wider firm's strong track record in restructuring matters.

Practice head(s):

John Gordon

Testimonials

There is close integration between Ashurst’s pensions team and its commercial litigation group. This means Ashurst’s pensions team has valuable experience in heavyweight commercial litigation‘.

John Gordon is extremely flexible, highly knowledgeable and able to translate difficult concepts whilst not losing sight of the important detail‘.

John Gordon is excellent. Technically, he is a highly accomplished pensions lawyer. Commercially, he is excellent at understanding clients’ business needs‘.

Key clients

West Coast Trains Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Virgin, Stagecoach and SNCF on their legal challenge to DfT’s decision to disqualify their bid for the new flagship West Coast Partnership franchise.

Clyde & Co LLP

The pensions team at Clyde & Co LLP is renowned for advising on claims against professionals and financial advisers. In particular, recent highlights have featured pleas relating to defective drafting of documentation and poor advice regarding restructurings and mergers. Headed by the 'utterly brilliant' Neil Jamieson, it also includes 'terrific' legal director Ivan Wilkinson, an authority in professional liability matters. The firm's non-contentious offering covers trustee liability insurance, de-risking (including bulk annuities) and local authority outsourcing. Overseen by Terry Saeedi and featuring senior associate Matthew Ambler (both described as 'exceptional'), it has substantive expertise in the utilities sector.

Practice head(s):

Neil Jamieson

Other key lawyers:

Ivan Wilkinson

Testimonials

Clyde & Co’s pensions disputes practice is unique in the extent of its focus on professional negligence litigation (and specifically defence work)’. 

‘Clyde & Co have an unrivalled understanding and expertise in professional negligence litigation: there is nothing they haven’t seen … nothing will faze them‘.

Unrivalled technical expertise in prof neg issues arising in the pensions space. Able to devote specialist litigation resources and expertise whenever necessary‘.

Highly experienced litigation team with expertise in both commercial litigation and pensions disputes. Strong commercial awareness‘.

Neil Jamieson was excellent at not micro-managing, knowing precisely when to give input and ‘see the wood for the trees’. But his most remarkable expertise was in negotiations: skill and judgement was utterly brilliant – the dream ‘closer’ of a negotiation, leaving the opponent almost thanking you for accepting their offer.’

‘Ivan Wilkinson is an excellent lawyer (technically) but also a really far-sighted thinker (strategically) and great to work with. Meticulous in thinking through all the angles, so that you’re never out-flanked‘.

Ivan Wilkinson is a terrific lawyer. He combines great technical knowledge with an unrivalled analytical ability. He masters the detail, the big picture and the tactical issues. He is a joy to work with‘.

Ivan Wilkinson has excellent analytical skills with a strong understanding of pensions litigation‘.

Dentons

The pensions practice at Dentons is part of the overall people, reward and mobility team, which is led by Virginia Allen and Eleanor Hart - who joined from Slaughter and May in early 2019 - and features the 'hugely experienced' insolvency expert Elmer Doonan. The London partners are supported by associates in Milton Keynes and Scotland to provide a joined-up, cost-effective offering across the UK. Key recent cases have seen the firm advise on complex issues concerning liability, excepted life policies, death in service arrangements and age discrimination, working with clients across sectors including travel, government and publishing. On the non-contentious side, the team regularly provides support on the pensions aspects of major corporate transactions.

Practice head(s):

Virginia Allen; Eleanor Hart

Other key lawyers:

Elmer Doonan

Testimonials

‘A mixture of pensions and insolvency which stands out from all other practices in this area’.

‘Elmer Doonan is a hugely experienced pensions litigator, with a great hands-on approach with clients’.

Key clients

JCB Finance Pension Scheme

Virgin Atlantic Airways

TUI UK Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the JCB Finance Pension Scheme trustees on a dispute over the correct level of pension increase to be applied to post-1997 pension accruals.
  • Advising Virgin Atlantic Airways on all general pension, death benefit and trust law matters. This involved help with setting up and amending pension scheme rules to put an Excepted Life Policy in place for those employees who are close to their lifetime allowance.
  • Advised TUI UK Limited in averting an age discrimination claim from a pilot arising out of the closure of a DB pension scheme to future accrual.

DWF

Described as the 'leading expert on PPF matters' Amanda Banister is the key figure for pensions at DWF, working in tandem with Manchester-based commercial litigation head Joel Heap. The firm is noted for its expertise in distressed markets, scheme restructurings and its ability to resolve high profile and complex cases. The team is adept at handling the full range of disputes, covering everything from Ombudsman complaints to representation at the Court of Justice of the EU. The firm has recently been advising Wm Morrison in the high-profile ECJ case concerning pensions equalisation. Former national pensions head Tim Green left to join CMS in late 2019.

Practice head(s):

Amanda Banister; Joel Heap

Testimonials

Good specialist expertise and an eye for the big point has seen them run some of the big cases in recent years. Good crossover expertise in employment means that they can run employment related pensions issues for top clients‘.

The unique feature of DWF’s pensions disputes practice is Amanda Banister, who has unrivalled experience and expertise in relation to the Pension Protection Fund and associated litigation, whether the European law angles, the public law angles, or the insolvency and restructuring angles. Particularly as we head into a post-Covid-19 recession, with inevitable insolvencies and restructurings to follow, DWF should be extremely well-placed to assist with related pensions litigation, given Amanda Banister’s expertise‘.

Amanda Banister is a leading expert on PPF related matters‘.

Amanda Banister is poised, fearless and astute‘.

Key clients

Dalriada Trustees Limited

WM Morrisons PLC

Trustees of the Princes Pension Scheme

HR Trustees Limited

Trustee of the British Steel Pension Scheme

Board of the Pension Protection Fund

Work highlights

  • In the case of Safeway v Newton, advised WM Morrison on the proceedings to the Grand Chamber of the CJEU and their return to the Court of Appeal.
  • Advising Dalriada Trustees Limited on potential TPR moral hazard proceedings.
  • Advised the Board of the Pension Protection Fund on complex implementation issues following Hampshire v PPF and on related Judicial Review proceedings.

Fieldfisher

David Gallagher leads Fieldfisher's 'top-notch' pensions practice, working alongside the 'technically very impressive' Michael Calvert. The team is particularly renowned for its work for representative beneficiaries. The firm has recently handled a wide range of cases requiring the rectification of scheme documents, clarification on settlement structures and elucidation of the duties owed by trustees to sponsoring employers. Andrew Patten, a buy-out specialist described as 'exceptional', handles non-contentious matters. The firm is known for its footprint in the electricity, rail and utility sectors, and has been advising the professional independent trustee of the Carillion Group of the Electricity Supply Pension Scheme on the issues affecting the scheme following Carillion's high-profile insolvency.

Practice head(s):

David Gallagher

Other key lawyers:

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.

Mayer Brown International LLP

Pensions disputes head Stuart Pickford and insurance chief Will Glassey are the key names for contentious pensions matters in Mayer Brown International LLP's London office. Areas covered include: ombudsman complaints, High Court litigation, regulatory investigations, document rectification and overpayments. The firm's 'excellent' team also handles professional negligence claims, judicial review proceedings, investor group actions and applications for injunctions. Non-contentious work is led by Jay Doraisamy and Ian Wright, who offer expertise in benefit redesign and integrated investment. Clients can also draw on the firm's expertise in ring-fencing requirements and the UK implications of US Chapter 11 proceedings. The team has a strong record of work for clients drawn from the electricity, energy and financial services industries, while the team also recently advised the trustees of the Mothercare Staff Pension Scheme on the transfer of scheme liabilities following the company's administration. Other recommended personnel include Duncan Watson, Richard Evans, Edward Jewitt and Andrew Block.

Practice head(s):

Stuart Pickford; Will Glassey

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Block

Testimonials

The team is an excellent pensions disputes team which draws appropriately from other areas of expertise across the firm‘.

The team seamlessly integrates its inherent dispute resolution skills with the business side of pensions and employment law. Familiarity with market conditions and governance practice is a given‘.

Stuart Pickford has exceptional attention to detail and expertise in technical pensions issues‘.

Stuart Pickford is a calm and considered adviser who offers unexpected and novel solutions to seemingly intractable problems. A flawless command of detail even after significant periods of inactivity, swift, concise advice and a dry sense of humour make him a pleasure to work with‘.

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 a trustee of a large UK occupational pension scheme in proceedings before the Determinations Panel of the Pensions Regulator.
  • Represented a participating employer in the Motor Industry Pension Plan in a dispute concerning whether the employer has any liability under the Employer Debt Regulations.
  • Advised a substantial pension fund on claims arising from the failure of an investment it made in a managed investment portfolio via a Delaware limited partnership.

Signet Partners LLP

Boutique employment firm Signet Partners LLP features the talents of former Pension Protection Fund solicitor advocate Deborah Latimer. The firm provides strategic advice to trustees, representatives, employers and individuals, receiving significant amounts of work via referrals. Recent notable cases have touched on the rectification of scheme documentation, the facilitation of regulatory investigations and Beddoe applications for rectification proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Deborah Latimer

Taylor Wessing LLP

With 'excellent' knowledge of the sector, Mark Smith leads the pensions offering in Taylor Wessing LLP's London office. Recent complex work has including advising on the pensions aspects of company restructurings, as well as rectification matters, PPF compensation and the assessment of risky investments. In particular, the firm is known for its competence in fraud cases (with a special emphasis on charges relating to pensions liberation schemes). Non-contentious matters have been pursued for major clients such as billionaire businesswoman Lady Cristina Green, who the firm advised on pensions issues relating to the restructuring of Arcadia.

Practice head(s):

Mark Smith

Testimonials

The team display excellent skills and knowledge. The advice, care, and attention we received was outstanding‘.

An excellent mix of contentious and non-contentious, with a particular speciality acting for scheme members in pensions litigation‘.

Mark Smith was instructed to advise in connection with a difficult and complex issue concerning a defined benefits scheme of which I am a trustee. His advice was always clear and precise and his knowledge of the subject matter excellent. I could not have asked for more‘.

Key clients

Independent Trustee Services Limited

Pi Trustees

Lady Cristina Green

Three companies in the Lehman Brothers group

EMC

Work highlights

  • Advised Lady Cristina Green on the restructuring of Arcadia, which included the negotiation of the pensions terms with the trustees of Arcadia’s two DB pension schemes, The Pensions Regulator and the PPF

TLT

TLT 's pensions disputes offering features the combined talents of overall practice head Sasha Butterworth, Ed Fiddick and Victoria Mabbett, all of who are based in Bristol. The team has tackled a range of cases concerning matters including deficient advice on scheme amendments, the formulation of loss of chance claims and competing interpretations of principal employer status. A key recent highlight has been representing members of the Bic UK Pension Scheme in relation to amendments and the recovery of alleged overpayments. The firm's non-contentious portfolio includes work touching on full scheme liabilities, acquisitions of SIPP books and tax liabilities relating to non-standard assets. The 'very responsive' Chris Crighton is dual qualified to practise in Northern Ireland.

Other key lawyers:

Chris Crighton

Testimonials

They are very efficient and user-friendly, and very good at mediating good outcomes for their clients. They have a particular expertise in pensions professional negligence, achieving great outcomes for their clients.’

Very knowledgeable about pensions and pragmatic‘.

Vicky Mabbett is very approachable and very client focused. She fights really hard for her client and is a fierce negotiator. She is also unstuffy and able to cut through complexities and give pragmatic advice.’

‘Chris Crighton is a great all rounder. He has deep pensions knowledge and is practical and realistic in his advice, while always keeping the commercial endgame in mind‘.

Chris Crighton is very responsive, knowledgeable and practical‘.

Key clients

Trustees of the Wandel & Goltermann Retirement Benefits Scheme

Members of the Bic UK Pension Scheme

Work highlights

  • Acted for 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 governing scheme documents.
  • Acted for 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).

Travers Smith LLP

The pensions team at Travers Smith LLP provides clients with assistance on key sector issues such as: investment funds, derivatives, structured products,  tax, employment and dispute resolution. Team lead Daniel Gerring is supported by Paul Stannard, Susie Daykin, Sebastian Reger and senior counsel Karen Sahota.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Gerring

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

From Newcastle, Martin Poore leads the UK pensions law team at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP. The team handles corporate and scheme restructurings across a range of sectors, acting for prestigious clients such as Procter & Gamble, Taylor Wimpey and IBM. 'Great technician' Suzanne Duff handles both contentious and non-contentious pensions matters, working alongside commercial litigator Richard Collins, who has particular expertise in equalisation and benefits issues. The team advises on a broad range of pensions issues, covering scheme rectification, historical errors, enhanced protection, professional negligence and FCA mis-selling investigations. The team also includes Tracy Walsh, a specialist in employer debt regimes, outsourcing transactions, mergers and innovative funding arrangements.

Practice head(s):

Suzanne Duff

Other key lawyers:

Richard Collins

Testimonials

Richard Collins inspires confidence in clients.’

‘Suzanne Duff is a great technician‘.

London standards at out-of-London prices.’

DLA Piper

Matthew Swynnerton leads the London pensions team at DLA Piper. The team advises on all aspects of pensions law including bulk annuity transactions, reorganisations, benefit redesign and liability management projects, also handling contentious matters.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Swynnerton

Testimonials

‘Matthew Swynnerton is knowledgeable and clear in his approach, and easy to work with.’