Pensions (non-contentious) in London

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 centious 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

‘I have always found the Allen & Overy team to be very pragmatic in their approach’

‘The A&O team are truly collaborative with a great depth of talent and expertise.’

 

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

ASDA Stores Limited

Co-operative Group Limited

News UK

Work highlights

  • Advised ASDA Stores Limited, sponsor of the ASDA Group Pension Scheme, on a full collateralised insurance buy-in covering the Scheme’s c.£3.8bn of liabilities.
  • Advised Pennon Group plc on the pensions aspects of its sale of Viridor to KKR for £4.2bn.
  • Advising Trustees of the Pfizer Group Pension Scheme on strategic and technical pension issues on its £3bn fund.

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:

Mark Atkinson; Neil Smith; Alexandra Tomlinson; Simon Pilcher; Peter Coyne; Emma Frost; Kate Richards; Jennifer Bell; James Parker; Tim Green

Testimonials

‘Very strong team, they don’t try to overengineer solutions to issues and are able to draw on excellent lawyers from other departments when needed.’

‘An enthusiastic, knowledgeable and efficient team, always willing to help with a down to earth and pragmatic approach to solving issues. Always positive with a great sense of humour.’

‘The team are highly commercial and pragmatic. They don’t provide long advice essays; they tell you how to achieve your objective with the minimum of fuss. They have seen and done most things in the pensions world, so a quick conversation is very helpful in pointing you in the right direction.’

Key clients

Trustee of the Aon Retirement Plan

Atos Pension Schemes Limited

Pacific Life Re

Flybe

Manpower

Ernst & Young

Universities Superannuation Scheme

Northern Bank

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Trustees of the Baker Hughes (UK) Pension Plan

Deutsche Bank UK Pension Scheme

Work highlights

  • Advised Pacific Life Re on a £10bn longevity swap with Lloyds Banking Group pension schemes, the second largest transaction ever in the UK.
  • Advised Atos Pension Schemes Limited Trustee in relation to Part 8 proceedings, where ultimately it was held that it would not be legally possible to change the index used for future pension increases from RPI to CPI in respect of a defined benefit scheme of which it is the sole corporate trustee
  • Acting for the Trustee of the British Regional Airlines Group Pension Scheme following the administration of Flybe limited. As the scheme is registered in the Isle of Man and outside of the Pension Protection Fund it has raised unique questions as to how to secure benefits for the members.

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. Michael Jones recently joined the firm as a partner from Pinsent Masons LLP.

Practice head(s):

Francois Barker; Jeremy Goodwin

Other key lawyers:

Steven Hull; Mark Latimour; Sarah Swift

Testimonials

‘The Eversheds team were phenomenal. Their insights, guidance and excellent negotiations delivered a complex buy-in transaction on time and well under budget, saving us tens of millions euros. This was probably one of the most complex and time pressured transactions ever done.’

‘We use Eversheds Sutherland because of their deep pensions and benefits expertise, married with pragmatic, clear and timely advice, and their ability to leverage resources across different legal disciplines.’

‘Highly knowledgable – deep and broad knowledge at all levels. Able to respond rapidly to issues, and quickly get up a learning curve. Excellent communication, both verbal and written. Clear, accessible, and unequivocal – there’s no “on the one and …and on the other…”. There’s clear guidance as to the appropriate path to take.’

‘Jeremy Goodwin is an outstanding partner for Eversheds. Jeremy genuinely cares about the Trustee, the Scheme and the sponsor. He is always available and is a very good listener.’

 

Key clients

Cadent Gas pension scheme

Clara Pension Scheme

Zurich Financial Services UK Pension Scheme

Department for Transport

Legal & General

GE Pension Plan Trustees

Compass Group Pension Scheme

Tesco Pension Scheme

Accenture Retirement Savings Plan

Universities Superannuation Scheme

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 the team 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 of note for their 'excellent' advice. This strength is mirrored in disputes, as the tenacity and robustness of the specialist litigators resulted in a £2.6bn pension deficit recovery for Nortel, the largest debt recovery 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):

Katie Banks

Other key lawyers:

Duncan Buchanan; Claire Southern; Faye Jarvis; Edward Brown

Testimonials

‘The team are responsive and managed in their approach. They can be pragmatic both in terms of their approach and advice. They will also offer to deliver training on subjects at low cost to help promote the right approach. ‘

‘I am always impressed by the quality of the individuals at Hogan Lovells and the impressive coordination across the various teams make them a joy to deal with. Knowledge and commercial nous are excellent and delivered with a thoughtful client focus that I have found invaluable. ‘

‘My view of Hogan Lovells is that it is an extremely professional legal firm that looks after its clients with great care and attention. ‘

‘Katie Banks – exceptionally insightful and clear sighted, her breadth of knowledge and experience enables her to find solutions to apparently intractable problems. Someone you can trust to help guide you to the best outcome using a combination of creativity, clarity of thought and great stakeholder manager.’

‘Faye Jarvis has a very broad and extensive pensions experience. She always delivers within timescales however tight.

‘Edward Brown – hugely popular with the Trustees, he gives clear, thoughtful advice and is able to cut through the “noise” to identify the heart of an issue and swiftly resolve it. Able to deal with matters swiftly and yet still provide a balance and thoughtful response. Inspires the trust and confidence of the Trustees.’

‘Claire Southern –  From relentlessly reasonable, to tenacious, to being an out and out street fighter when the negotiations required it, her knowledge, commercial savvy and client focus proved absolutely invaluable to the trustees. I cannot recommend Claire highly enough, a top performer in my experience. ‘

Work highlights

  • Acted for Trustee of the Old British Steel Pension Scheme (OBSPS) on one of the largest “all risks” bulk annuity transactions of 2020 under which the Pension Insurance Corporation will insure just under £2 billion in liabilities relating to over 30,000 current and former members of the OBSPS.
  • Advised Trustees of the AA Pension Scheme in relation to the £219 million sale of AA Plc to Warburg Pincus International and TowerBrook Capital Partners.
  • Advised Trustees of Centrica’s defined benefit pension schemes on the disposal of Centrica’s North American business (Direct Energy) for US$3.625 billion.

Linklaters LLP

The pensions teams at Linklaters LLP acts on all sides of the market. 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 arrangements and has a substantive de-risking practice through Rosalind Knowles and Philip Goss. SIPP arrangements and insurance advice is expertly handled by John Sheppard. The dispute 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):

Claire Petheram

Other key lawyers:

Rosalind Knowles; Philip Goss; John Sheppard

Testimonials

‘Linklaters employs people who are technical experts in their field, able to explain complex legal pension matters to a lay audience in simple language’

‘Linklaters’ advice is always well considered, clearly and concisely presented and practical, covering all the points needed to implement their advice.’

‘In our experience it is a dedicated team with a deep level of experience. We have a very large pension scheme and their experience on other large schemes is also invaluable.’

‘Claire Petheram is superb. Probably the best pension legal adviser I have seen in my 20 years in the pensions industry – even though she is on the Trustee “side”! Knows our fund inside out, comes off the fence and gives clear advice, which is never “overlong” or “overwrought” but perfectly to the point and logical. Claire is pragmatic but can also have more informal conversations which I value highly on the Company side.’

Key clients

Rentokil

The Mineworkers Pension Scheme

RHM Pension Trust Limited

Rolls-Royce UK Pension Fund

BP Pension Trustees Limited

Marks and Spencer Pension Scheme

AstraZeneca Pension Fund

Diageo Pension Trust Limited

MMC UK Pension Fund

Co-op Pension Scheme

Work highlights

  • Advised the Trustee of the RHM Pension Scheme on a segregated merger with two of Premier Foods Group’s other pension arrangements. The merger created a multi-employer, sectionalised occupational pension scheme with combined assets of around £5.5bn.
  • Advised Rentokil Initial Pension Trustee Limited on all of the steps needed to complete a buy-out process and secure the benefits of all beneficiaries under the Scheme through individual annuity policies. There have been a number of strands to this, complicated by GMP rectification, equalisation and conversion and the Lloyds judgment towards the end of 2020 in relation to historic transfers-out.
  • Advised the trustee on the proposed changes to the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme. The scheme is highly contentious, receiving a lot of attention from MPs and the press due to its surplus sharing provisions with the Government; our advice therefore had to factor in the scrutiny any change would attract.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP's pensions team straddles the breadth of complex industry matters in both its 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. Matthew De Ferrars  leads the DB risk transfer team, adept in buy-out and winding-up projects. Mark Baker supports 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 dispute 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):

Carolyn Saunders

Other key lawyers:

Mark Baker; Matthew de Ferrars

Testimonials

‘Pinsent Masons provided us with professional, practical and timely advice when we managed a pension change programme. They acted as our partners in driving forward this change in our business and we could not have done it without them.’

‘Carolyn and the team at Pinsent Masons worked very closely with us to deliver change. They are pragmatic, focused, timely and lots of fun to work with. They became a key trusted partner during this time.’

‘Mark Baker is a stand out performer. He can be relied upon to give pragmatic, technically sound advice in a form which is digestible for our commercial colleagues.

‘Matthew de Ferrars:  superb technically and excellent client skills’

‘Pinsent Masons are not just experts in pension and trust law, they fully understand the wider aspects of running large pension schemes. This means that they are part of the team, rather than arms-length advisers.’

Key clients

Lloyds Banking Group

Railpen as provider of administration and investment services to the Railways Pension Scheme

TPT Retirement Solutions

Legal & General WorkSave Mastertrust

Group Trustees of the RWE Group of the Electricity Supply Pension Scheme (ESPS) and Group Trustees of the Innogy Group of the ESPS

Royal & Sun Alliance plc

Devonport Royal Dockyard Pension Scheme (a Babcock International Group scheme)

Nortel Networks UK Pension Trust Limited

Costain Pension Scheme

Sotheby’s Pension Scheme

Work highlights

  • Has advised 25 of the 37 defined contribution authorised master trusts during or since the authorisation process, and continue to advise with the supervisory regime, with combined assets of around £35 billion.
  • Advised trustees  of the RWE Group and the Innogy Group of the ESPS on a major pension restructuring following the EUR 40 billion renewables asset swap between RWE and E.ON.
  • Advised Berry Global on a highly complex merger of three of its defined benefit pensions schemes throughout the project up to completion.

Sacker & Partners LLP

Premier 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 Bingham, Arshad Khan, and well regarded 'No.2' Aaron Dunning-Foreman.

Practice head(s):

David Saunders

Other key lawyers:

Edward Hayes; Janet Brown; Jacqui Reid; Fuat Sami; Eleanor Daplyn ; Ralph McClelland

Testimonials

‘The Sackers team is a very cohesive group of pension experts each of whom have particular expertise in their specialist fields as well as wide general pensions knowledge. Their technical updates are particularly timely and clear and enable you to engage with them at the right point in time.’

‘Clearly pensions are first and foremost their USP. This is their strength and sole focus, unlike most other legal firms which are multi-discipline and have a pensions practice alongside numerous other departments. ‘

‘The people make Sackers unique – each member of our team is so likeable – we feel like we have known them forever. They are just so great to work with and knowledgeable. Even the thorniest of issues are explained well and in an interesting way.’

‘Janet Brown – down-to-earth, practical, knowledgeable. She fills us with confidence – nothing gets past her. We love her wit and style. She is an absolute gem!’

‘David Saunders has been our longstanding contact within the firm and in addition to the attributes detailed above David also provides broader input and advice based on his own wider experience all of which we find incredibly valuable. David also displays an ability to remain calm and balanced even in the most difficult of circumstances.’

Key clients

National Grid UK Pension Scheme

HSBC Bank (UK) Pension Scheme

Railways Pension Scheme

TfL Pension Fund

John Lewis Partnership Trust for Pensions

Bank of England Staff Pension Fund

DHL Group Retirement Plan

GSK Pension Schemes

Royal Mail Pension Plan

Airways Pension Scheme (APS)

Work highlights

  • Advised Trustee of the Mowlem (1993) Pension Scheme on a £150m PPF+ buyout transaction, a ground-breaking transaction which secured the benefits of more than 360 deferred members and 650 retirees.
  • Advised Trustee of the Siemens Benefits Scheme on a corporate transaction involving the carve out of Siemens gas and power business and a pensioner buy-in, securing £530m of liabilities for more than 2,000 pensioners.
  • We acted for the Trustee of the Sal Pension Scheme on the takeover of the RSA Insurance group by Intact Financial.

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):

Charles Cameron

Other key lawyers:

Sandeep Maudgil; Daniel Schaffer; Philip Linnard; Hugh Gittins; Chris Sharpe; Isobel Carruthers; Sarah Lee; Edward Hunnisett

Testimonials

”Absolutely superb – Slaughter and May are the Rolls-Royce in this area as well as in so many others. Exceptional practitioners who work exceptionally hard, and who produce outstanding work product. Thoughtful and thought through advice. No corners are cut. Deep and detailed technical knowledge and experience across the whole spectrum of pensions work.’

‘The team are intelligent, thorough and hard-working. They are able to see both sides of the argument given that they advise both trustees and sponsoring employers of major pensions schemes, as well as their high profile work linked to transactions.’

‘Charles Cameron is the best I have ever worked with. His advice shows deep strategic thinking, a total understanding of pension law. When and how to bring other practices and how to co-ordinate the advice to develop an overall solution.’

‘Sandy Maudgil and Richard Jeens are outstanding. Extremely friendly and approachable, with a knack of making complicated issues understandable.’

‘Dan Schaffer is out there on his own in the pensions’ industry. Very experienced; a truly original thinker, and solution provider.’ 

‘Charles Cameron has market knowledge and a calm and unflustered approach. Very creative. Exceptional technical legal skills. An excellent adviser who slots in seamlessly with the extended team (client and other advisers) and has instant credibility.’

Key clients

AkzoNobel and ICI

BT Pension Scheme (Trustees)

Caterpillar Pension Plan (DB) (Trustees)

Caterpillar DC Pension Plan (Trustees)

Daily Mail

De La Rue plc

Derwent

Disney

Drax Group

E.ON UK PLC

FirstGroup plc

GlaxoSmithKline plc

Interserve

JCB Service

Ovo Energy

PA Pension Scheme (Trustees)

Phillips 66 Pension Scheme (Trustees)

Railways Pension Trustee Company (Trustee of Railways Pension Schemes (RPS) and other legacy railways related pension schemes)

Reckitt Benckiser

Royal Mail

RSA Insurance Group plc

SCA UK Pension Plan (Trustees)

Severn Trent Pension Schemes (Trustees)

Signature Aviation plc

Tata Steel

UK Asset Resolution

United Utilities

Walmart

Whitbread PLC

3i

Work highlights

  • Advised 3i on the £650 million buy-in with Legal & General of the 3i Group Pension Plan, matching the benefits of around 850 members.
  • Advised GSK on the closure of its seven UK defined benefit pension schemes, affecting around 1,900 active members.
  • Advised RSA Insurance Group on reaching agreement with the trustees of RSA’s three defined benefit schemes in the context of a £7.2bn recommended cash offer, managing issues and risks raised by the new Pensions Regulator powers to be introduced under the Pension Schemes Act 2021.

Travers Smith LLP

Praised as 'first-class'  Travers Smith LLP's multidisciplinary pensions sector practice is led by 'top-class' Daniel Gerring. The team advises some of the UK's largest DB and DC schemes and employers. Susie Daykin supports the the broad advisory practice, with particular expertise in de-risking transactions. The practice also advises on covenant and distress scenarios, where Jonathan Gilmour and Peter Hughes specialise in risk management, risk reduction, investment strategies, funding and insured solutions. The team is also at the forefront in ESG considerations, having a dedicated "sustainable business" client hub for pension sector stakeholders. David James  is the go to for trustee boards and is considered 'technically excellent'. The pensions practice works with other core specialists from across the firm, particularly structured finance and derivatives lawyers, offering clients full access to the firm's capabilities.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Gerring

Other key lawyers:

Susie Daykin; Jonathan Gilmour; Peter Hughes; David James;

Testimonials

‘Travers Smith is a first class firm. They are responsive, have huge in-depth knowledge of the pensions industry and the Regulator and are always available to offer advice, attend meetings or proactively suggest meetings where their input would benefit the scheme.’

‘As a firm they welcome diversity of thought from across their teams. Straight talking, thoughtful and open. An inclusive approach, empowering LGBT+ leaders.’

‘The team led by Daniel Gerring is cohesive, collaborative and very easy to deal with. The main point for me is that they offer a complete all round top quality pensions service.’

‘I am consistently impressed by Daniel Gerring: he is a first class lawyer and an acknowledged expert in his field. He is also a supremely commercial, pragmatic and strategic adviser and definitely the person you want at your side in negotiations. I can’t rate him highly enough. He is also a great supporter and developer of people and is unstuffy and personable. His team are also quality lawyers and are going from strength to strength.’

‘David James at Travers Smith is extremely knowledgeable but also very personable. He has a great ability to get to the heart of the matter and is able to explain complex legal matters to the lay person in a very understandable way.’

‘Susie Daykin is seriously clever; an excellent negotiator and a trusted member of our team.’

Key clients

Aspinall Capital Partners and Portunes Capital Limited

Centrica

Clarks

ING

Laura Ashley

Maersk

Nortel

Reckitt Benckiser

Unilever

Vodafone

Willis Towers Watson

Work highlights

  • Acted for Portunes Capital on the first Capital-Backed Journey Plan transaction with the trustees of a UK DB pension scheme. The Capital-Backed Journey Plan offers a third party capital-backed investment plan to buy-out while the scheme retains the employer covenant.
  • Travers Smith LLP has advised the Trustee of Clarks group’s UK DB pension fund on LionRock Capital’s acquisition of a majority equity stake in the Clarks group.
  • Advised the Trustee of the Maersk Retirement Benefits Pension Scheme on a £1.1bn pensions bulk annuity transaction with Legal and General securing the pension benefits of almost 5,000 scheme members.

Arc Pensions Law

Seasoned pensions practitioner and founding member Anna Rogers leads Arc Pensions Law team. It occupies a unique position in the market focusing entirely on workplace pension schemes. Its work in the master trusts realm, both for trustees and for members, is notable, with  Anna Copestake a key part of the team. Anne-Marie Winton is adept at advising distressed schemes and restructurings, as is Rosalind Connor. Senior associate Abigail Cohen has significant experience in bulk annuity purchase transactions. Since its founding in 2015, Arc has begun to develop a litigation and disputes practice, advising in relation to scheme rectification claims.

Practice head(s):

Anna Rogers

Other key lawyers:

Anna Copestake; Rosalind Connor: Anne-Marie Winton; Abigail Cohen; Jane Kola

Testimonials

‘ARC have particular strengths in defined contributions pensions matters, and especially authorised master trusts. The team is responsive, pragmatic and down-to-earth in providing solutions to trustees – as well as setting out risks in a clear manner.’

‘Specialist pensions law firm who have built a great team over a relatively short period of time. Partners have wide experience of all pensions matters and have worked on a number of high profile cases in recent years.’

‘Arc Pensions Law has proven to be an excellent firm to deal with in the ever evolving legalities relating to the management of pension schemes.’

‘Anna Copestake – amazing person. Technically superb whilst retaining a sense humour and availability. She is definitely one of the future stars of pensions law ( if not already). ‘

‘Abigail Cohen – showing huge dedication to her job and ability’

‘Rosalind Connor – responsive, down to earth, with an ability to make the complex understandable to trustees.’

‘Anna Rogers has a “can do” attitude and a genuine desire to explore and find solutions – a refreshing contrast to some others in the pension law space. She has a keen eye for detail and is meticulous in execution once a solution has been agreed.

Key clients

Jungheinrich UK Limited

Phoenix Group

Exide Technologies

Salvus Master Trust

Cobham Limited

Littlewoods Pensions Scheme

Welplan Pensions

XPS Pensions Group

Work highlights

  • Advised the Trustees on one of the largest and most complex pensions insurance transactions of 2020 (valued at c. £950 million). Our team helped negotiate the deal on an accelerated timetable. As a result of the buy-in of pensioner liabilities, these members are no longer at risk of a downturn in the scheme sponsor’s finances.
  • Advised the trustee of Welplan Pensions on the first wind up and market exit of a defined contribution master trust, under the watchful eyes of the Pensions Regulator. This involved 55,000 members and 1800 employers and successfully transferring of assets of c. £230m to new providers.
  • Advised Trustees of Salvus Master Trust in connection with the sale of the scheme funder to Cushon, ensuring that scheme members’ interests were protected throughout.

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

‘The team at Baker McKenzie deliver excellent client service. During the Covid pandemic the firm were particularly quick to adopt remote working practices and there has been a seamless, uninterrupted service at all levels.’

‘Excellent pensions advice with huge pragmatism and customer service. A great talent for making the complex understandable.’

‘Baker McKenzie have a rich reservoir of pension knowledge which they use to the benefit of their clients. They are solid in their practice but are very welcoming of any innovation. Their flexibility in deploying their knowledge is what marks them apart from other firms.’

Key clients

Accenture

Arqiva Trustees

Atos

Avis Trustees

Chr Hansen Holding A/S

GSK

KKR & Co. Inc.

McDermott

Merchant Navy Officers Pension

Punter Southall Pension Solutions Limited and trustees of the Stoneport Pension Scheme

Trinity College Cambridge

Work highlights

  • Assisted Punter Southall Pension Solutions Limited (an industry player) and trustees of the Stoneport Pension Scheme on a groundbreaking defined benefit consolidator pension scheme.
  • Advising GSK on pensions aspects of the spinout of the global consumer healthcare business across 100 jurisdictions.
  • Advising McDermott on the implications on its three UK defined benefit pension plans of the corporate group entering chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US and subsequent restructuring, including trustee negotiations and Pensions Regulator discussions.

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):

Richard Knight

Other key lawyers:

Michael Hayles; Richard Pettit; Clive Pugh

Testimonials

‘They are a fantastic team. Personable, technically excellent, collaborative. We see them more as an ally, who we look to refer work to, rather than a competitor.’

‘Large team with real strength in depth. Technical pensions know-how, industry specific knowledge and across the board expertise means that they are able to offer an excellent service in relation to schemes of any size.’

Clive Pugh is simply excellent: he displays a masterful ability to see what a problem is in practice and what the solution might be. He delegates brilliantly. ‘

Key clients

Honda (Trustees)

Wessex Water Pension Scheme

Silentnight (Trustees)

Cardiff Bus

Bernard Matthews

Luton Airport Pension Scheme (Trustees)

Transport for Wales

UK Atomic Energy Authority

Department for Education (Employer)

University of Oxford (Trustees)

Work highlights

  • Provide a full range of services to longstanding client, the Honda-Group UK Pension Scheme (with an asset value of nearly £1 billion), which in the past year has meant supporting the administration sub-committee in relation to COVID-related issues, including providing timely advice on furlough.
  • Advising United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) on all aspects of its £9 billion pension arrangements, including in the context of the UKAEA’s “STEP” programme.
  • Advising the trustees of the London Luton Airport Pension Scheme, a longstanding client, on urgent negotiations to defer deficit repair contributions as a result of the impact of COVID on the employer’s cashflow.

Clifford Chance LLP

Association of Pension Lawyers' chair Hywel Robinson leads the Clifford Chance LLP  pensions offering. Relied on by big-name clients such as Telefonica and Legal & General, the team advises on a wide range of matters, including bulk purchase transactions, asset backed funding arrangements, and GMP equalisation. Recognised for her 'deep, technical knowledge' Clare Hoxey  advises on multi-billion pound defined benefit schemes and is the secretary to the APL investment sub-committee. Sarah McAleer also provides strategic advice to clients, particularly in buy-in and buy-out transactions, and also sits on the APL international sub-committee. The pensions practice is able to provide comprehensive and robust advice across practice areas to ensure clients the option of a 'full service' offering.

Practice head(s):

Hywel Robinson

Other key lawyers:

Clare Hoxey; Sarah McAleer

Testimonials

‘Long established pension team who are technically excellent and provide total confidence to their clients. They work to timescales and always deliver.’

‘Great technical capability combined with excellent commercial understanding.’

‘Clifford Chance have strong attention to detail and protect the interests of their clients well. They look to find a solution as opposed to simply answering the question raised.’

Key clients

Telefonica

Legal & General

Trustee of the Dairy Crest Group Pension Fund

Babcock International Group PLC

Melrose

Swiss Re

Trustee of a significant pensions scheme within the retail sector

Intact

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DLA Piper

DLA Piper's pensions team offers multi-disciplinary advice through close collaboration with its employment, corporate, and tax colleagues. Matthew Swynnerton leads the practice, which has seen the creation of a dedicated de-risking team, led by Amrit Mclean which focuses on advising insurers, schemes, and sponsors on bulk annuity transactions. Tamara Calvert is known for her expertise in relation to the Electricity Supply Pensions Scheme. Swynnerton, meanwhile, is also involved in the development of drafting secondary legislation for the Pension Schemes Act 2021, working directly with the DWP.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Swynnerton

Other key lawyers:

Tamara Calvert; Amrit Mclean

Testimonials

‘Excellent advice and service across the team. Excellent communication within appropriate team members and very responsive. They know how to bring in expertise/specialism when needed.’

‘We have used DLA for over 20 years and they have dealt with all matters that a pension scheme can face. They have always delivered and have a strong and knowledgeable team.’

‘Tamara Calvert – I could not fault her excellent advice, her collaborative approach and leadership’

Key clients

Hitachi Rail Europe Limited

Universities Superannuation Scheme Limited

Novartis UK Pension Scheme

Aviva Yes

National Grid (ESPS)

E.ON UK (ESPS)

Grainger Inc /Cromwell Group (Holdings) Limited

Du Pont (U.K.) Limited Pensions Fund

Renault UK

Heineken

Work highlights

  • Advised the sponsoring company on a novel and complex funding arrangement which involved a parent company guarantee, credit rating and scheme solvency to determine the funding to be provided to a £3 billion scheme.
  • Advising Rothesay Life on a £290 million buy-in of pension liabilities relating members of the IPC Media Pension Scheme.
  • Advising the Pension Scams Industry Group (PSIG), the voluntary body set up to combat pension scams.

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 disputespractice, 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.Gowling WLG

Practice head(s):

Jason Coates

Other key lawyers:

Paul Feathers

Testimonials

‘The team at Gowling offer a strong, pragmatic pensions practice, with particular excellence in buy-ins/out on the provider side.’

The team is very responsive and proactive, supporting clients through whatever challenges they face. The team work collaboratively with us as trustee and the other advisers.’

‘They have a deep understanding and experience of all pensions matters.’

‘Jason Coates embodies the culture of the team. Invests in developing strong relationships and understanding preferred ways of working to deliver advice to the me as a person as well as the trustee body I represent.

Key clients

Pension Protection Fund (PPF)

Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS)

Rothesay

Fujitsu UK Services pension schemes

Thales (UK) Pension Scheme

Trafalgar House Pension Trust

Pirelli UK Pension Funds

Mitchells & Butlers Pension Plan

Weetabix Pension Plans

Rolls-Royce Retirement Savings Trust

Work highlights

  • Advised Rothesay on many of their bulk annuity trades in 2020 including the £800 million transaction with the National Grid UK Pension Scheme ( December 2020).
  • Advised Legal and General Group UK Senior Pension Scheme Trustee on their £400 million Assurance Payment Policy de-risking transaction with the Legal & General Assurance Society.
  • Advised The Trustee of the Countrywide Farmers Retirement Benefits Scheme on the contractual aspects of the £100 million bulk annuity transaction with Legal & General (L&G) to secure benefits for the Scheme’s beneficiaries.

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):

Samantha Brown, Regional Head (UK) of Employment, Pensions & Incentives,

Other key lawyers:

Ian Gault; Michael Aherne ; Alison Brown; Rachel Pinto

Testimonials

‘They are very cost effective for a London based firm. They provide proactive, pragmatic advice and always strive to provide practical commercial solutions.’

‘Uniquely they are able to break down highly complex technical issues into understandable actions and recommendations for lay trustees.’

‘Significant knowledge base across all partners and associates. Clear communication of complex issues.’

Key clients

Pension Insurance Corporation

Stagecoach

TUI

Tryg A/s

Perenco UK Ltd

Trustees of the Marathon Services GB Limited Life Assurance and Pension Scheme

G4S

Trustees of the TTL Chiltern Group Pension Scheme

Trustees of the Spirax-Sarco Employees Pension Fund

Willis Towers Watson

Work highlights

  • Advised Pension Insurance Corporation on six transactions worth just under £4 billion in the past 12 months. These include the innovative £2 billion buy-out of the Old British Steel Pensions Scheme.
  • Advised Perenco on the closure and transfer of the defined contribution section of the Perenco UK Pension Plan to the Aegon Master Trust.

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):

Jay Doraisamy; Ian Wright

Other key lawyers:

Duncan Watson; Richard Evans; Edward Jewitt

Testimonials

‘The pensions team provides excellent service. They are confident in interpreting and advising on legal aspects of the Trustees’ decision making, rather than merely advising what the law says. This is the standout value maker of Mayer Brown’s pension legal advice that is most appreciated by the Trustees.’

‘Our team at Mayer Brown is professional, approachable, responsive, knowledgeable and provide clearly articulated and pragmatic advice.’

‘Mayer Brown are very much part of the ‘team’ that helps to manage our pension arrangements.’

‘Jay Doraisamy is responsive, pragmatic, proactive and very personable to deal with. Her advice to the trustee is always well delivered and received, thorough in its preparation, and clearly articulated both verbally and in writing. Jay is proactive in bringing new regulatory requirements to my attention to ensure we stay abreast of legislation.’

Key clients

BOC Pension Scheme; BOC Retirement Savings Plan; BOC Senior Executive Pension Scheme and Gist Pension Scheme

BT Pension Scheme

EDF Energy Group of the Electricity Supply Pension Scheme

Electricity Supply Pension Scheme

Ford Hourly Paid Contributory Pension Fund; Ford Salaried Contributory Pension Fund; and Ford Senior Staff Pension Fund

Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund

Prudential Staff Pension Scheme

Reed Elsevier Pension Scheme

Santander (UK) Group Pension Scheme

UK Power Networks Group of the Electricity Supply Pension Scheme and UK Power Networks Pension Scheme

JMEPS Trustees Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Trustees of the Mothercare Staff Pension Scheme and the Mothercare Executive Pension Scheme in connection with the request for deferral of pension contributions in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and impact on trading plus the re-financing of the Mothercare Group.
  • Acted for the trustees of the Prudential Staff Pension Scheme on a complex longevity swap transaction covering £3.7 billion of pension liabilities relating to over 20,000 pensioners.
  • Advised Mitie Group plc on the pensions aspects of its acquisition of Interserve Facilities Management, creating the country’s largest facilities management company.

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):

Clifford Sims – National; Wendy Hunter – London

Other key lawyers:

Kirsty Bartlett; Chris Harper; Philip Sutton

Testimonials

‘Tremendous strength at partner level for both litigious and advisory work across its UK offices.’

‘Great attention to detail but pragmatic at the same time. Good availability of wider resources within the firm, with specialisms that may be needed from time to time. All exceptional team players who work collaboratively with other advisers – helps run the Board efficiently.’

‘The team are quick to respond to queries and are always helpful and joined up. We have had some significant projects needing advice and that always is clear and comprehensive.’

‘Clifford Sims, Wendy Hunter, Kirsty Bartlett, Philip Sutton and Victoria Leigh are all leaders in their fields.’

Key clients

West Midlands Pension Fund

Allianz Retirement and Death Benefit Fund

Amey plc and Trustee of the Amey OS Pension Scheme

The Pension Service

Trustees of the UNISON Staff Pension Scheme

Local Government Association

Trustee of the Aviva Master Trust

The trustees of the Manpower Pension Plan

Anglian Water Group Pension Trustee Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised West Midlands Pension Fund on the sale of Pensions Infrastructure Manger Limited to Foresight Group LLP
  • Advised Amey plc and Trustee of the Amey OS Pension Scheme on a new consolidated trust deed and rules, the impact of COVID-19 on the Scheme’s employer covenant and the pensions implications of employees being put on furlough and a number of individual complaints about member entitlement to benefits under the Scheme and the payment of benefits from the employer’s separate life cover scheme.
  • Advised Trustee of the Aviva Master Trust on more than 20 bulk transfers to the AMT from other pension schemes.

Stephenson Harwood

Stephenson Harwood's pensions offering was restructured to create a combined, single location practice offering 'deep technical knowledge and formidable litigation skills'. The non-contentious arm is led by Philip Goodchild. Stephen 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 CPR/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 and is a key lawyer in the firm's endeavours.

Practice head(s):

Philip Goodchild

Other key lawyers:

Mark Catchpole; Graham Wrightson; Stephen Richards

Testimonials

‘The experience, professional approach and timely delivery of keenly costed projects makes Stephenson Harwood my go to law firm for complex pension solutions.’

‘They have gone from a class act moderate size firm, to a major player and a heavy hitter. A great deal of in-house knowledge and expertise, bespoke to pensions work.’

‘Stephen Richards is hugely energetic, full of solutions and also very knowledgeable, particularly about mastertrust transfers.’

‘Graham Wrightson is extremely knowledgeable and pleasant to deal with, and he cuts to the chase very effectively’

Key clients

Textron Group pension funds

TMF International Pensions Ltd

Trustee of Sicame Electrical Developments Limited Pension Scheme

Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures Pension Fund

Southern Housing Group Pension Scheme

Barnardo’s Staff Pension Scheme

The First Group’s major pension scheme, the First UK Bus Pension Scheme

The Institute of Physics Retirement Benefits Plan (1975)

Workers Pension Trust Limited

Partnerships in Care Limited Pension and Life Assurance Plan (pension scheme within the Priory Hospitals Group)

Work highlights

  • Advised Textron Group pension funds in relation to pensions being increased for pensioners who needed money sooner rather than later.
  • Advised TMF International Pensions on one of the first alternative pension products to be an alternative contender to the DIFC state pension arrangement.
  • Advised the Trustee of Sicame Electrical Developments Limited Pension Scheme in relation to the requirement to adjust plan benefits to account for the unequal effects of Guaranteed Minimum Pensions (GMPs) – otherwise known as “GMP equalisation”.

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 co-led advising Britvic plc with Jade Murray, on successfully 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):

Catherine McAllister, head of London pensions; Susan Garrett, head of pension disputes; Rachel Rawnsley, head of pensions nationally;

Other key lawyers:

Judith Donnelly; Jade Murray

Testimonials

‘Offer a valued blend of expertise, experience, conviction and approachability.’

‘Catherine McAllister is very diligent, calm, clear, pragmatic and professional’

Key clients

Celesio (Admenta Lloyds Pharmacy)

Samworth Brothers

ICON Plc

Chemtura

Trustee of the Citrus Pension Plan

Trustee of the three CGI pension schemes

Trustee of the Credit Agricole CIB Legacy Pension Scheme

Global Radio Services Limited

Trustee of the Gulf International Bank (UK) Limited Pension Scheme

Trustees of the Delbanco Meyer & Company Limited Retirement Benefits Scheme

Trustees of the Holland & Holland Pension Scheme

HS1 Limited

Columbia Threadneedle Investments

Steinhoff UK Holdings Limited

Trustees of the Unisys Public Sector Pension Scheme

Trustees of the P&O Ferries 2008 Division Pension Scheme

Wolseley (now Ferguson)

Freightliner

Newcastle Theatre Trust

Local Government Pension Scheme legal framework

Work highlights

  • Advising University of Leeds Pension and Assurance Scheme Trustees in relation to secondary market purchases.
  • Advising Dalriada in its capacity as incoming trustee of the Interface Europe Pension Scheme on the legal aspects of transferring the assets of the pension scheme from the outgoing trustee.

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

Fieldfisher

The 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 for 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

Fieldfisher’s pensions team is top-notch. The partners are available and flexible, and deliver concise, thoughtful, and pragmatic advice. The team addresses issues with an emphasis on meaningful results. Fieldfisher was one of several firms we worked with on a complex multinational restructuring, and we felt well advised in their hands. They are hard working and a real pleasure to work with‘.

They are excellent lawyers, providing great advice, in a speedy manner, and excellent client support. They are particularly good at working as a team in support to each other, us and our common clients – to an extent that demonstrates a clear gap when compared to their peers. They are a pleasure to work with, an excellent team, providing clear, constructive and commercially aware advice – we have no hesitation in recommending them‘.

Andrew Patten is exceptional. He has a deep knowledge of pensions policy and case law, is sensible, straightforward, and responsive‘.

Key clients

Trustees of the Sibelco UK Occupational Pension Scheme

Trustees of the Cooper Consolidated Pension Plan

Trustees of the MTL Instruments Group Pension Scheme

EDF Energy Limited

Trustee of the Electricity Supply Pension Scheme (ESPS)

Trustees of various pension schemes sponsored by Arriva PLC

AT Kearney Limited

OneFamily Friendly Society

Trustees of Eggborough Power Group of the ESPS

Trustees of Power Generation Pension Scheme

Work highlights

  • Advising Trustees of Arriva plc sponsored schemes on employer covenant support, contingent assets and member cases for the trustees of 5 separate schemes.
  • Advising Electricity Pensions Trustee Limited Trustees of the industry-wide Electricity Supply Pension Scheme including work on scheme structure, liaison with government departments concerning the regulatory framework and attendance at members general meetings.

Macfarlanes LLP

Macfarlanes LLP 's pensions practice, led by Camilla Barry , is known for its corporate and employer support work in relation to pension liabilities. Andrew Barton  advises major insurers and reinsurers on high-value transactions.  Pensions work includes funding negotiations, DC master trust advice, s75 debt management, and changes to benefit terms. De-risking offerings include longevity swaps and insurance, and bulk annuity transactions.

Practice head(s):

Camilla Barry; Andrew Barton

Testimonials

‘The advice is very detailed, the legal drafting is very precise and both the partners and associates are extremely competent. They are also very approachable and respond quickly to queries whether by email or phone.’

‘A very strong life insurance team with in depth knowledge on longevity reinsurance, pensions and the wider regulatory framework.’

‘Team balances practicality and thoroughness of advice very well. Examples include referrals for treatment of member cases where the advice was short and practical, while for advice on accrual closure they took the time to make sure the right steps were addressed upfront.’

Key clients

Legal and General Assurance Society Limited

Spirit Aerosystems, Inc.

PSF Benefits Limited (the Pension SuperFund)

GBT Travel Services UK Limited

Pernod Ricard S.A.

FNAC Darty S.A.

Barloworld UK Limited

Autovista Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Legal & General on a number of high-profile defined benefit pension risk transfer transactions.
  • Advising Spirit Aerosystems, Inc. on the UK pensions aspects of its acquisition of Short Brothers PLC from Bombardier Inc. including two defined benefit pension schemes (combined assets of over £1.5 billion).
  • Advised PSF Benefits Limited and related parties on the establishment of the Pension SuperFund, a new occupational pension scheme to be operated as a consolidator of defined benefit liabilities (“superfund”) and supporting arrangements.

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):

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

Other key lawyers:

Giannis Waymouth; Katie Stephen; Shane O’Reilly; Peter Ford

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.

‘Lesley Browning has an excellent understanding of the issues we face and has always provided excellent and timely advice.’

‘Peter Ford and Shane O’Reilly are two very experienced lawyers but over and above that they take the time to get to know people and they are always an absolute pleasure to work with.’

Key clients

Abellio Transport Holdings

Accenture Inc

Accolade Wines Ltd

AES Corporation

Amtrust International

AXA UK plc

Bain Capital

Bank of Ireland

Barclays Bank plc

Bechtel Global Corporation

Bombardier Inc.

The Boston Consulting Group Limited

Canada Life Limited

Carnival plc

Carlsberg UK Limited

Carrier Pension Trustee Limited

CEMEX UK Pension Trust Limited

Cheviot Trustees Limited

Chubb Services UK Limited

Civil Aviation Authority

Colgate-Palmolive (UK) Limited

Cooper Tyre & Rubber Co. Europe Limited

Crest Nicolson plc

Dalriada Trustees Limited

Energizer Brands LLC

FCA

Hayward Tyler Pension Plan Trustees

HSBC Global Asset Management (UK) Ltd

HSBC Master Trust Trustee Limited

HSBC Retirement Services Limited

Hydro Aluminium Deeside Ltd

Hyperion Insurance Group Limited

IMI plc

Invensys Pension Scheme Trustee Limited

Irish Pensions Trust Limited

John Menzies

Lancaster Landmark Hotel Company Limited

Lyondell Chemical Europe Inc.

Maersk Line UK L

Work highlights

  • Advised Carlsberg UK Limited on its entry to a joint venture with Marston’s plc worth £780m.
  • Advised Bain Capital Credit LP on the pensions aspects of the acquisition of Liverpool Victoria group by way of a Part VII scheme
  • Advised Invensys Pension Trustee Limited as Trustee of the Invensys Pension Scheme on a whole host of scheme issues including potential scam cases, GMP equalisation and rectification, as well as data protection, tax and regulatory advice.

Osborne Clarke LLP

Osborne Clarke LLP's pensions offering is led by 'industry heavyweight' Jonathan Hazlett. The team offers a market-leading 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:

Katherine King; Ben Wright; Daragh McGinty; Claire Rankin; 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, and Paul Matthews is also a go to partner.’

Key clients

Pension Protection Fund

LGPS National Procurement Framework for Legal Services (including sole legal adviser to the Environment Agency Pension Fund)

Transport for London

Hammerson Group Management Limited Pension and Life Assurance Scheme

Savills Pension Plan

Bank of Ireland UK Pension Fund

Dell Corporation Limited

Royal Society of Chemistry Pension Scheme

SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK Pension Plans Trustees Limited

Senior plc Pension Plan

Students’ Union Superannuation Fund

Imperial Tobacco Pension Fund

Grant Thornton Pension Fund

Kohler Mira Pension Scheme

Sharp Electronics (UK) Limited Pension Scheme

Work highlights

  • Advised over 30 schemes on PPF related matters, including Animal Health Trust, Beales, House of Fraser, Laura Ashley, YMCA, Wiggins Teape and the T & N Scheme.
  • Advising Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) National Procurement Framework on local authority pension schemes with combined asset size of circa £20 billion, with potential exposure nationally to schemes totalling £275 billion via national panel.
  • Advising both the Trustee of Pennon Group Pension Scheme (PGPS) and the Trustee of the Pennon Defined Contribution Pension Scheme (PGDCPS) on a number of complex workstreams, including the implications of the sale of Viridor Limited for more than £4 billion in July 2020.

PwC LLP

PwC LLP 's pensions offering sits within a wider multidisciplinary network, providing an  integrated pensions service to clients. The team is headed by 'inspirational team leader' Oliver Reece, and is a key player in bulk annuity transactions.  DB indexation work has been a particular focus for the team, as well as ESG considerations, funding issues and restructurings, s75 debt changes and PPF advice - with David Farmer recommended. Fraser Sparks supports the practice with its contingent funding and public sector expertise.

Practice head(s):

Oliver Reece

Other key lawyers:

Fraser Sparks; David Farmer

Testimonials

‘ PwC has a unique insight into the corporate activity landscape, informed by its related accountancy, audit, tax, actuarial and HR practice. ‘

‘Oliver Reece has an astonishing ability to keep on top of the detail, without losing sight of the wood for the trees. He is quick, efficient, pragmatic and a great team leader.’

‘PwC’s employment-pensions practice has a quality leadership team that proactively looks for opportunities to add value to its clients. Although it has a significant number of standalone appointments, part of its unique qualities is that it often works in conjunction with PwC’s wider services.’

Key clients

Appreciate Group Plc

Aptiv PLC

Arco Limited

Aspinall Capital Holdings Limited

British Broadcasting Corporation

CBEVE

Corbion N.V.

Daisy Group Holdings Limited

Encase Holdings Limited

Encase Limited

EP UK Investments Ltd

Federated Pension Scheme for Imperial College London

Federated Pension Scheme for University College Hospital, London

Fujitsu General (Euro) GmbH

Gategroup

Iggesund Paperboard (Workington) Limited

IMI Plc

Inchcape PLC

Jacobs Solutions Inc.

National Timber Group Midco Limited

PA Media Group Limited

Pentland Group Limited

Portunes Capital Limited

Smiths News PLC

Standard Club

St Mungo’s

The Trustees of the KPSS (UK) Ltd

Travis Perkins plc

Trustees Of The Arnold Laver Pension Scheme

Reed Smith LLP

Reed Smith LLP's London pensions practice is led by Simon Hartley, Justine Senior and William Sutton. The team acts for a wide array of clients, with particular depth in advising trustees on scheme funding, merger/de-merger and restructuring implications, and benefit structures. The practice has a proven track record advising large DB/DC schemes and has a commercial and pragmatic approach appreciated by its clients.

Practice head(s):

Simon Hartley; Justine Senior; Will Sutton

Testimonials

‘They have a culture of delivery and have a breadth of relevant experience for all pensions scheme transactions and have demonstrated this over a number of years with a very complex scheme through some big corporate and scheme transactions.’

‘Go well beyond their legal remit. In our most recent large project they took steps to ensure that the project was efficiently managed, proactively chasing other parties and seeking answers to areas that required clarification, as well as completing their own legal responsibilities in a timely and conscientious manner.’

‘Reed Smith Pensions is a small but highly competent team. Easy to access and great to work with.’

Simmons & Simmons

Simmons & Simmons‘ City pensions practice, led by Danny Tsang, is described by one client as ‘expert in their field’. The team covers a range of work including advising on de-risking DB arrangements, ranging from closures, to future accrual, restructuring and liability management. The practice is supported by Bristol consultant James Dean and newly promoted partner Edward Smith, whose expertise includes advising FTSE 100 companies on pension benefit redesigns and liability hedging in relation to multi-national cross-border M&A.

Practice head(s):

Danny Tsang

Other key lawyers:

James Dean; Edward Smith; Andy So

Testimonials

‘Simmons provide an excellent legal service for our pension business in the UK. They have extremely good knowledge and are always reliable.’

‘The Simmons team were very clear and turned complex pensions issues into simple language, drawing the key conclusions from the situation we were dealing with. Very articulate and understood instruction well .’

‘Edward Smith and James Dean were exceptional and a pleasure to work with. Edward was very articulate, knowledgeable, professional and unfazed by the variation of questions and concerns from my board. Very grateful for his leadership and professionalism.’

‘Danny Tsang and his team are expert in their field.’

Key clients

DXC Technology

GlaxoSmithKline

Confederation of Health Service Employees (COHSE)

BASF plc

Doosan Babcock Trustees

Anheuser-Busch InBev Group

West Ferry Printers Pension Scheme

Work highlights

  • Regular adviser to GlaxoSmithKline since 1989 and provide ongoing advisory work for the trustees of the SmithKline Beecham Pension Plan and SmithKline Beecham Senior Executive Pension Plan, two of GlaxoSmithKline £1 billion + pension arrangements.  Support ranges from “day to day” governance to supporting the Trustees to respond to significant corporate and regulatory events.
  • Regular adviser to BASF and have advised on a wide range of pensions matters over the last year, including in relation to complex internal reorganisations.
  • Advising Anheuser-Busch InBev Group Pension Trust Limited and Stag Brewing Pensions Limited since 2011.

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 have always provided us with a very high quality service.’

‘Team is led by John Gordon, who has over time proved more than capable of dealing with the intricacies of the many varied issues we have asked him and the team to consider.’

Key clients

On behalf of Thomas Cook PLC and subsidiaries (in liquidation) (acting for Alix Partners)

Keolis Amey as the new franchise operator for rail services for Wales and Borders

PPL Corporation

The Trustees of the NIAB (1996) Pension Scheme

Clement Clarke Pensions Trustees Limited

Dalriada Trustees Limited

Interserve plc

Navigator Terminals Limited

Aveva Group Plc

Insight Investment Management Limited

The Trustee of the Dartford River Crossing Pension Scheme

National Express Group Plc

JPI Media Limited

AEG Fuels UK Limited

Toshiba Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised on behalf of Thomas Cook Group PLC and subsidiaries (in liquidation) (acting for Alix Partners) on one of the largest-ever compulsory liquidations for such a high profile brand, providing pensions advice from the outset of the liquidation process and throughout the repatriation and winding-up process. This involves advising in relation to several of the Group’s very large defined benefit pension schemes.
  • Provided significant pensions advice to KeolisAmey, (KA) in relation to the Wales and Borders franchise, including in relation to the impact of Covid-19 on the W&B Franchise, resulting in a brand new set of bespoke arrangements.
  • Advised PPL Corporation on the £7.8 billion sale of its UK business, Western Power Distribution, to National Grid, one of the largest pensions deals by size of pension schemes. The advice involved reviewing and commenting on many material and high-value issues.

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 a key litigator for the team for professional negligence and rectification.

Practice head(s):

Chris Netiatis

Testimonials

‘Chris and his team are very good at providing practical solutions, working with the client to achieve mutually beneficial results.’

‘Smooth collaboration, swift reply and a no-nonsence approach.’

Key clients

Trustees of the Continental Group Pension and Life Assurance Scheme

Trustees of the Leo Pharma Retirement Benefits Plan

Project Houston

Belfast Harbour Commissioners

The Trustees of the Red Funnel Pension Scheme

Thor Lion LLP

Work highlights

  • Advised Trustees of the Continental Group Pension and Life Assurance Scheme on the implementation of GMP through GMP conversion in the context of the £100m buy-out of all scheme liabilities.
  • Advised Nationwide Accident Repair Services on the risk of exposure to the Pension Regulator’s moral hazard powers arising from a proposed pre-pack insolvency of the chain of accident repair garages.
  • Advised Trustees of the Leo Pharma Retirement Benefits Plan on the implementation of an overseas parent contingent asset agreement and the release of overseas securities.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP's pension team is considered a go-to for charity and not-for-profit pensions advice. Michael Jones leads the practice, which offers expertise in funding, risk reduction, M&A, and restructurings. The team offer a personal approach, also advising on TPR clearance and PPF 'pre-pack' arrangements. Esther White is a key member of the team and a specialist in acquisitions and auto-enrolement.

Practice head(s):

Michael M Jones

Other key lawyers:

Esther White

Testimonials

‘The team were accessible and took time to understand the complications of issues and work through solutions in an open and transparent way. They were realistic in their options and were able to deliver great service and a positive end result.’

‘Highly professional and accessible, taking time to explain and de-mystify the complex issues they were dealing with.’

‘Michael M Jones and his colleague Esther White were responsive, friendly and commmunicative.’

‘Michael and Esther are good at identifying the key issues and focusing their advice where it is most effective. They are also commercial and understand the working of their clients’ business, as well as how to get the best out of their interactions with other professional advisers.’

Key clients

City & Guilds

Westminster Abbey

Smith & Williamson Trustees Ltd

DST Systems

Dalriada Trustees Limited

Ericsson

Atkin Trustees Limited

Caffé Nero

Work highlights

  • Advising multinational retail business in relation to a buy-in, with a view to a buy-out in a short time frame, of the defined benefit liabilities of its hybrid pension scheme.
  • Advising a leading charity in relation to the triennial pension scheme valuation and in particular the provision of a contingent security for the scheme.
  • Advising  a multinational telecoms business on a range of pension issues including in relation to pension scheme governance and the structure of the trustee board

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):

Terry Saeedi

Other key lawyers:

Paul Hodges; Matthew Ambler

Testimonials

‘The team are proactive and provide a proportionate and pragmatic approach. The people are friendly, keen to help and deliver to timescales. Would recommend the Pensions team to other clients seeking a friendly legal team.’

‘The Collaboration between the legal teams and us was excellent. Our problem felt like it was theirs and you could feel the desire and willingness to resolve the issue.’

‘The London team is very driven to deliver excellent service.’

‘Terry Saeedi and Matthew Ambler have worked around the clock for me. They have done extensive research and fought for me to win. I have complete confidence in them and would recommend them to anyone. Such dedication from solicitors is rare.’

gunnercooke LLP

gunnercooke LLP joins the London rankings with a non-contentious pensions offering that provides clients with direct access to experienced pensions practitioners, eschewing the traditional law firm model. Adam Bushby's practice includes trustee advisory and scheme risk management work. Helen Miles  joined from Squire Patton Boggs and advises companies, large funds, and professional trustees in TPR investigations, PPF challenges, and Ombudsman complaints. Parminder Latimer joined from Simmons & Simmons, and works across both contentious and non-contentious matters for trustees, corporates, individuals, and in-house counsels.

Other key lawyers:

Adam Bushby; Helen Miles; Parminder Latimer

Testimonials

‘Gunnercooke gives direct access to senior lawyers across the board. Their fees are competitive and their responsiveness is excellent.’

‘Gunner Cooke LLP have an innovative format which is largely partner led. It is more akin to a barrister’s chambers than a law firm in some ways.’

‘You know your adviser has chosen to take personal responsibility across all issues. This gives really good continuity and a deep understanding of our circumstances.’

Key clients

Hitachi Vantara

TWIL Group Pension Fund

Inspired Gaming Group Pension Scheme

Softlab Pension Plan/Keane Limited Pension Scheme

Bord Bia – The Irish Food Board

Chartered Management Institute

SGI

Methodist Church

The London Metal Exchange

Varian Medical Systems (UK) Limited

Portsmouth Water Limited

Work highlights

  • Defending an individual against the imposition of a Contribution Notice for £3.6m by the Pensions Regulator.
  • Securing £89.2M of pensioner liabilities in the Brockhampton £140M pension scheme with JUST Retirement.
  • Advising Hitachi Data Systems Retirement Benefits Plan trustees on the equalisation of guaranteed minimum pensions and the securing of those benefits.

Irwin Mitchell

Pension partners Penny Cogher and Martin Jenkins lead the pensions team at Irwin Mitchell.  The firm is known for its private wealth offering and the team draws on this to deliver specialist expertise for UK and oversees pension schemes. With a client focus that also includes the education, charity, and manufacturing sectors, the team's full service pensions offering includes advice around funding, risk management and restructurings. The firm also has a strong track record in auto-enrolment, re-enrolment, contribution increases, salary sacrifice and the impact of TUPE transfers.

Practice head(s):

Penny Cogher; Martin Jenkins

Testimonials

‘Penny Cogher has been proactive, responsive, practical and good at simplifying complicated matters.’

‘A small but high class team whose individuals variously combine exceptional legal skills and knowledge and very wide industry knowledge and engagement. They are dynamic, willing to give proactive advice to clients if they consider that they can assist them’

 

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

Other key lawyers:

Hadassah Shulman

Testimonials

‘Nothing is too much trouble for them, advice is delivered on time and most importantly, in a way that is understood by the trustees.’

‘The team has in depth knowledge of the pensions industry and is always prompt and responsive when dealing with legal questions.’

‘Taylor Wessing provide very thorough, detailed legal advice and take a forensic approach to their work – piecing together what can sometimes be a long and complicated scheme history. They will put in the hours required to meet challenging client deadlines and take the time to ensure that lay trustees fully understand the legal analysis, options and implications of the decisions they are making.’

‘Mark Taylor is outstanding in his clarity of thought and ability to deliver clear and comprehensive advice and guidance.’

‘Hadassah Shulman – an excellent performancer’

 

Key clients

Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund Trustees Limited

Lady Cristina Green

Independent Trustee Services Limited

Enterprise Rent-A-Car

FIS

Pi Trustees

Trustees of the Royal British Legion Staff Pension Fund

Trustees of the Visa UK Pension Plan

Press Association

Armitage Pet Care Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund Trustees Limited in relation to a range of issues, including arrangements for the funding of the scheme,  the restructuring of an employer group and security arrangements
  • Advising Lady Cristina Green on pensions issues relating to the restructuring and subsequent administration of the Arcadia Group
  • Advising the Press Association relation to buy-in and subsequent buy-out of DB pension liabilities and associated matters

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

Other key lawyers:

Chris Crighton

Testimonials

‘There are a number of solid law firms in the UK that we would turn to. However, what makes TLT’s practice different (and therefore our first choice) is the ability to place themselves into the client’s shoes. On an innovation angle, Collaborate is a superb working tool that makes life so much easier, especially when under time pressure!’

‘A firm that provided a quick efficient service at a reasonable price. They are clear and concise with advice and continue to be proactive and helpful. These traits run through the whole team.’

Key clients

Anglian Water

Government Legal Department

Fujitsu Technology Solutions International Pension Plan Trustee

Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Limited

Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime

Viridor Waste Management Limited

WHSmith

Travelers

Arkema Bostik Pension Trustee Limited

IBMS Trustees

Work highlights

  • Advising the Trustees of the Institute of Biomedical Science Pension Scheme in relation to the full buyout of all Scheme liabilities and the eventual winding-up of the Scheme.
  • Acted for Inchcape Retail Limited on five separate acquisitions and disposals of dealerships.
  • Acted for Hartley Pensions Limited on the acquisition of a large portfolio of self-invested personal pension schemes (SIPPs) from Guinness Mahon Trust Corporation Limited (In Administration). This was a portfolio of approximately 4,000 SIPPs.

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP's London pensions offering offers clients a multi-disciplinary team, with wide-ranging experience in the pensions market. Led by Nicholas Greenacre, the team specialises in employer issues, with a specific focus on corporate transactions, restructuring deals, and advice for high-value schemes. The practice works with the US firm's wider employment, compensation, and benefits team to offer clients flexible and bespoke solutions. Kate Russell  is a key name at a non-partner level.

Practice head(s):

Nicholas Greenacre

Other key lawyers:

Kate Russell

Key clients

Swissport

Baker Hughes

Avon Rubber p.l.c.

VISA Inc.

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 has a broad practice of both non-contentious matters and contentious work. Suzanne Duff advises in relation to 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.’

 

Key clients

Liverpool Victoria Financial Services Limited (LV=)

Northern Powergrid (North East) plc

Trustees of the British Safety Council Pension Scheme

Trustee of the Futamura British Pension Scheme

Trustee of the Go-Ahead Group Pension Plan

The Trustees of the Newcastle Building Society Pension and Assurance Scheme

Trustees of the Sapa Holdings Limited Pension and Life Assurance Scheme

Trustee of the VA Tech (UK) Pension Scheme

Work highlights

  • Advise LV= in relation to its own defined benefit (DB) pension schemes and the pension and retirement solutions it offers to its customers.
  • Advise Northern Powergrid on its section of the Electricity Supply Pension Scheme (ESPS) and its own occupational money purchase scheme
  • Advise the Trustee of the Go-Ahead Group Pension Plan on its ongoing obligations in relation to the pension plan (a complex hybrid pension arrangement) and support the Trustee’s in-house pension administration centre on day to day issues

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP

David Dennison leads Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP 's pensions practice.  Acting for trustees and employers, the team advises on scheme mergers, wind-ups, and benefit structures. Dennison advises on employee share plans and incentive agreements, and Ombudsman claims.

Practice head(s):

David Dennison

Shoosmiths LLP

David Thompson leads the non-contentious side of the recently established London pension offering at Shoosmiths LLP. Julian Richards joined the firm in 2019 from BDB Pitmans to develop the firm's advisory presence in the City and is well regarded for his 'reliable, clear and pragmatic' advice. Matthew Howard is the contentious pensions lead and has particular expertise in equalisation, rectification and professional negligence claims.

Practice head(s):

David Thompson; Matthew Howarth

Other key lawyers:

Julian Richards

Testimonials

‘We have a very positive and productive relationship with Shoosmiths. Julian Richards has been an adviser to our trustees for a number of years and is highly thought of by them.’

‘Julian Richards always takes his time and fully explains any issues in a methodical easy to understand way. His friendly approach and direct involvement in conducting business makes the trustees feel at ease and open to raising many questions when dealing with matters that are sometimes very complex in their nature. Julian is always contactable and quickly responds to any issues that arise when he contacted by the trustees or our scheme administrators.

‘Julian Richards is technically proficient and is amazing at cutting through the jargon. He gives reliable, clear, pragmatic advice at a great price – what’s not to like?’

Key clients

Trustees of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers Pension Scheme

Trustees of the Fire Brigades Union Pension Scheme

Trustees of the National Union of Mineworkers Officials’ and Permanent Employees’ Superannuation Fund

The Communication Workers Union

Trustees of the Football Association Limited Retirement Benefits Scheme

Trustees of the Florida Group Retirement Benefits Scheme

Trustees of the Mal-Tool Pension Scheme

Trustees of the Army & Navy Club Retirement Benefits Scheme

Lorica Advisory Services Limited

Trustees of the T Groocock & Co (Rothwell) Limited

Retirement Benefits Scheme

Trustees of the T Groocock & Co (Rothwell) Limited

Salaried Directors Retirement Benefits Scheme

NATFHE Pension and Life Assurance Scheme

Trustees of the Galbraith Pension Scheme

Trustees of the AK Steel Pension Scheme Community

Trustees of the Rannoch Foods Pension Scheme

Work highlights

  • Advising Galbraith Pension Scheme trustees on a proposal from the scheme’s employer to substitute its holding company as new principal employer and put in place a flexible apportionment arrangement.
  • Advising the Fire Brigades Union Pension Scheme trustees on a proposed bulk transfer without consent with specific contractual pension entitlements.
  • Acting for the trustees of the National Union of Mineworkers Officials’ and Permanent Employees’ Superannuation Fund on the agreed buy-out and wind-up of the scheme.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP

The pensions team at Trowers & Hamlins LLP is  praised for its'commercial and pragmatic' advice. Led by Martin McFall, the team's expertise straddles the corporate, public, and charitable sectors for occupational pension scheme sponsors. The practice is supported by Deborah Shumate and Rebecca McKay, both of whom have expertise in restructuring, liability management, and scheme management for the team's household name client portfolio.

Practice head(s):

Martin McFall

Other key lawyers:

Deborah Shumate; Rebecca McKay; Michael Rhode

Testimonials

‘We use the pensions team as our go to outsourced pensions specialists. They are incredibly responsive, knowledgeable and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Martin McFall and Rebecca McKay are fantastic. They are incredibly responsive and provide thorough advice which is always pragmatic and commercial. We value their advice and they are a pleasure to work with’

Key clients

Bic

North Star Housing Group

Jigsaw Homes Group

Welwyn Housing Association

Peabody Trust

Toyota plc

Brighton & Hove City Council

Bristows LLP

Vivid Homes

Work highlights

  • Assisted Bristows and Waterland on its acquisition of the Priory Group from Acadia Healthcare for £1,078 million.
  • Advise Bic on technical, innovative and practical solutions relating to the UK pension scheme.
  • Advised Brighton & Hove City Council on drafting and negotiating tri-partite documentation to allow for the establishment and transfer of the Council’s staff to a new museum trust for the Royal Pavilion.

Wedlake Bell LLP

Wedlake Bell LLP's pensions practice falls within the firm's business services group. Led by Justin McGilloway, the team advises occupational and personal pension schemes on scheme strategy/liability management, corporate transactions,  and governance for the manufacturing, leisure, and food sectors. Paul Ashcroft joined from DWF, strengthening the team's multinational corporate transaction expertise.

Practice head(s):

Justin McGilloway

Other key lawyers:

Alison Hills; Paul Ashcroft

Testimonials

‘User friendly pensions specialists who give strong directional advice.’

‘Alison Hills is practical, legally strong and with a terrific grasp of the whole picture. The real deal – formidably bright, approachable, clear of expression and not afraid to discuss the possibilities.’

‘Justin McGilloway is excellent, giving very practical advice’

Key clients

M&G Investments

Royal London

Trane UK Limited Retirement Benefits Plan

The Museum Association Pension Plan

Scandinavian Airlines Pension and Assurance Scheme

Buhler Limited

Terrence Higgins Pension & Assurance Scheme

Natixis Pension Scheme

Steamship Insurance Management Services Limited Pension Scheme

The Carlton Tower Pension Scheme

Jotun Paints (Europe) Limited Pension Scheme

Capital Radio Pension Plan

Carpenters Company Pension Scheme

Tenneco Automotive (UK) Pension Scheme

Sumi Agro Pension Scheme

Concentrix (a subsidiary of SYNNEX Corporation)

Global Association of Risk Professionals

Work highlights

  • Advising Scandinavian Airlines Pension and Assurance Scheme trustees on a restructuring exercise with particular focus on the PPF entry rules.
  • Advising The Trane UK Limited Retirement Benefits Plan trustees on the pension aspects of the separation of Ingersoll Rand’s industrial business to Gardner Denver. The consideration for the spin-off amounted to $1.9bn.
  • Advising Jotun Paints (Europe) Limited Pension Scheme trustees on scheme funding and employer covenant issues.