Pensions: dispute resolution in London
CMS has a strong team of dedicated pensions litigators with expertise in the prominent contentious issues facing the market. Mark Grant is a go-to name for Pensions Ombudsman insights, while Neal Gibson, Neil Smith and senior associate Alexandra Tomlinson all regularly act on high-profile professional negligence defence actions, rectification issues, issues concerning pension increase indexing and contentious matters involving the Pensions Regulator. Mark Atkinson regularly advises corporate clients on significant corporate transactions and Keith Webster is a leading name for setting up hybrid pension schemes and establishing defined contribution master trusts. The practice provides advice to the buoyant derisking market (including buy-ins, buy-outs and longevity swaps) to a client list comprising trustees, sponsors, insurers and reinsurers.
‘CMS has a very strong reputation in the pensions sector‘
‘The best in the market‘
‘Neil Smith is an excellent strategist‘
‘A fantastic team that provides pragmatic and highly commercial advice‘
‘Keith Webster and Mark Jenkins are very impressive‘
‘Keith Webster and Neil Gibson add real value and are proactive in coming up with innovative approaches to cases‘
‘Dominic Harris is pragmatic, insightful and cuts straight to the nub of an issue‘
‘Emma Frost has excellent technical knowledge and is very good to work with‘
‘An exceptionally bright bunch of pragmatic lawyers‘
‘Dominic Harris is an exceedingly bright and astute lawyer. He gets to the crux of the issue with lightning speed and his obsession in finding pragmatic solutions to complex issues is a rare and valued quality‘
‘Alex Nicklin has excellent technical and legal knowledge‘
Trustees of the Wedgwood Pension Scheme
Atos Pension Schemes Limited
Major firm of actuaries
Punter Southall Governance Services
Aon Hewitt Limited
Legal & General Pension Fund Trustee Limited / Legal & General Pension Scheme Trustee Limited
- Acting for British Telecoms in the Court of Appeal to overturn a judgement relating to the client’s ability to change pension increases from the RPI to CPI index.
The non-contentious offering at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP covers the full range of key issues in the pensions market, with Francois Barker and Jeremy Goodwin handling bulk annuity transactions, benefit plan closures, derisking exercises and master trust implementation exercises. Of particular note is the team’s expertise in the emerging field of defined benefit consolidation structures. Claire Carroll leads the dispute resolution practice with a particular strength in the financial services sector, offering substantial experience acting in cases involving the exercise of trustee powers, Pensions Regulator investigations, GMP equalisation, rectification claims and professional negligence claims for trustees and employers. The team also offers advice on the growing field of pensions liberation fraud.
‘Huge depth of resource within the firm that they can call on; exposed to all the main cases/issues.’
Airways Pension Scheme Trustee Limited
Nigel Beeken (representative beneficiary)
Aon Consulting Limited
Aon Hewitt Limited
Box Clever Trustees
Safeway Pension Trustees Limited
Carey Pensions UK LLP/ Carey Pension Trustees UK Limited
Accenture (UK) Limited
- Defended Airways Pension Scheme Trustee Limited in the High Court in a landmark case concerning the discretionary powers of a trustee body.
- Acting for Nigel Beeken (representative beneficiary) of the Steria Pension Plan in Part 8 proceedings seeking a declaration as to the effect of a deed of amendment.
High-profile rectification claims have been a recent area of focus for Gowling WLG's contentious pensions practice, while Birmingham-based practice head Peter Shave has also acted on a number of breach of trust claims, Pensions Ombudsman complaints, professional negligence claims and moral hazard investigations. The full-service non-contentious offering has seen instructions across the breadth of pensions issues, particularly in the risk transfer space including complex residual risk buy-outs and longevity swap transactions, as well as the pensions aspects of corporate transactions. Clients range from regulatory bodies and institutions to household-name employers and high-value pensions scheme trustees. Jason Coates, Paul Feathers and disputes specialist Ian Gordon are the key partners in the firm's London office.
Mitchells & Butlers Pensions Limited (trustee of the Mitchells & Butlers Pension Plan).
Members of the Austin Reed Group Pension Fund
Punter Southall Governance Services Limited (trustee of the Axminster Carpets Group Retirement Benefits Plan)
Trustees of the Weetabix pension schemes
Thales UK Pension Scheme
Steria Pension Plans
- Issued High Court proceedings seeking to rectify three sets of deeds and rules for Mitchells & Butlers Pensions Limited.
- Acting for the Lancaster Pension Scheme and others in proceedings to determine the consequences of various transfer payments made to various schemes.
- Advising a leading IT and business outsourcing company on its application to the court for an order to rectify an error in the rules of its pension scheme.
The pensions team at Hogan Lovells International LLP is at the forefront of some of the leading litigation trends in the market, having recently acted for trustees, sponsors and representative beneficiaries on big-ticket regulatory disputes, pension deficit recovery actions, pension insolvency matters and rectification actions. Angela Dimsdale Gill and senior associate Nathan Sherlock also cite particular expertise in the field of professional liability. The non-contentious offering is full service, with experts such as Katie Banks, Duncan Buchanan and Claire Southern leading on transactional work (including bulk policy transfers and annuity swaps), distressed pension restructurings, funding negotiations and pension buy-outs.
Angela Dimsdale Gill
Other key lawyers:
‘The team led by Claire Southern is innovative in its approach and commercially focused‘
‘Hogan Lovells listens to your needs and works very hard to deliver on them‘
‘Claire Southern is the leading pensions partner in her field. Her experience of complex pensions and restructuring issues, as well as her relentless focus on client objectives, is second to none‘
‘Claire Southern has a wealth of experience and a practical approach to pensions‘
‘Angela Dimsdale Gill is the preeminent pensions litigation solicitor at present in terms of size and profile of her practice‘
‘Edward Brown is incredibly bright and creative in approaching an issue. He and his team are very diligent in preparing advice, which is delivered in a concise practical way‘
‘Edward Brown is exceptional‘
‘Duncan Buchanan is pragmatic, commercial and goes the extra mile for his clients‘
‘Faye Jarvis is a safe pair of hands who is particularly good at explaining complex issues in an easy to understand way‘
‘Beth Sheehan is one to watch for the future‘
Trustee of the Nortel Networks UK Pension Plan
Representative beneficiary of the Airways Pension Scheme
Halcrow Group Limited
Dalriada Trustees Ltd. and the Board of the Pension Protection Fund
- Advising ITV on pension regulatory proceedings in the Upper Tribubal.
- Representing the Trustee of the Nortel Networks UK Pension Plan and the Board of the Pension Protection Fund in long-running litigation which has produced a number of legal landmarks.
Pensions liability management is a core aspect of Linklaters LLP’s practice, with the team led by Claire Petheram (succeeding the recently retired Ruth Goldman) having advised household-name scheme sponsors, insurers and trustees on longevity swap transactions, buy-ins, buy-outs and scheme mergers. The practice also advises on ring-fencing mandates, post-Lloyds equalisation issues, pension wind-ups and funding solutions. Mark Blyth leads the contentious offering with significant expertise in high-profile regulatory disputes, disputes involving the exercise of trustee powers, Pensions Ombudsman applications and contentious issues surrounding pension liabilities.
Claire Petheram; Mark Blyth
‘Caire Petheram is pragmatic, solutions driven, authoritative and commercial. She has excellent communication skills and is a pleasure to work with‘
‘An excellent team with a great group of partners and strength in depth‘
‘True specialists in pension litigation‘
‘Mark Blyth is enormously experienced, with excellent judgement and good interpersonal skills. He is exceptional‘
‘Mark Blyth is at the very top of the profession‘
‘Lorna Mitchinson is very solid and a safe pair of hands‘
‘Alasdair Smith is competent and reliable‘
‘Geoff Egerton is thoughtful, hardworking and a pleasure to work with‘
Coats UK Pension Scheme
Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund
Uniq pension scheme
- Represented British Airways in landmark proceedings against the trustees of its pension scheme over their decision to implement costly annual pension increases in excess of those provided by statute.
- Represented Southern Water in a regulatory dispute over the exercise of the pension regulator’s scheme funding powers.
Led by Carolyn Saunders, Pinsent Masons LLP has a market-leading occupational pension scheme offering, with a client roster comprising household-name multinationals. Key strengths include a robust master trust offering, investment advisory expertise, engagement with the Pensions Regulator and other regulatory bodies, scheme mergers, benefits rectification proceedings and high-value pensioner buy-ins. The 'top-class' team also lends its derisking expertise to pensions providers as well as trustees and sponsors. Isabel Nurse-Marsh heads-up the contentious offering, acting on the full spectrum of mandates such as Pensions Regulator actions, pension liberation scams, interpretation cases and pensions-related tax litigation. Charlotte Scholes provides particular expertise on professional negligence and Pensions Ombudsman claims, while Hayley Goldstone is praised for her rectification claim expertise.
Carolyn Saunders; Isabel Nurse-Marsh
‘A team of experienced litigators and individuals with excellent technical pensions knowledge‘
‘A very professional and well-prepared team‘
‘Very hands-on partners and senior associates who work incredibly well as a team, always with the interests of the client in mind‘
‘The pensions dispute resolution team provides a high-quality service to its clients‘
‘Hayley Goldstone is tenacious in pursuing the right outcome for her client’
‘Isobel Nurse-Marsh is incredibly experienced with a flexibility in thought not always visible in senior partners‘
‘Charlotte Scholes has amazing attention to detail while also seeing the bigger picture. A real joy for both clients and those working with her‘
‘Ben Fairhead is a considerable asset to the firm‘
‘An excellent, knowledgeable and professional team that does not fail to deliver‘
‘Undoubtedly at the head of the pensions field‘
Univar UK Limited
UGC Pension Trustees Limited
BT Pension Scheme
Scottish Pension Fund Trustees Limited
- Advising a market leading insurer, which is suing two leading law firms, on a complex rectification matter spanning 30 years.
- Acting for Univar UK Limited in a multi-faceted litigation including rectification action and professional negligence proceedings against previous legal advisers.
- Acting for Dalriada Trustees Limited in multi-jurisdictional and multifaceted litigation concerning over 100 schemes with £235m in issue.
'Unparalleled' City boutique Sacker & Partners LLP fields an extensive team of pensions experts covering all aspects of the market. Key lawyers including Ian Pittaway, Mark Greenlees and Edward Hayes receive instructions from some of the market’s largest defined contribution and defined benefit pension schemes, with mandates including ESG compliance, bulk annuity transfers, scheme funding, liability management and regulatory advice. The team, including Janet Brown and David Saunders, often handles the pensions aspects of high-value corporate transactions, scheme mergers and demergers, while Jacqui Reid regularly assists with the fast-growing field of master trust implementation. The contentious offering headed by Peter Murphy acts on rectifications, Pensions Regulator engagement, issues surrounding historic errors and indexing disputes.
Peter Murphy; Ian Pittaway
Other key lawyers:
‘Sacker & Partners has wide knowledge of legislation, industry practice, trustee behaviour and case law‘
‘A firm of experts totally focused on pensions law. The partners are flexible and available when needed and provide clear and unambiguous advice‘
‘The dispute resolution team is first-rate; absolutely geared up for tough fights on technically difficult cases‘
‘The entire team is very focused on the needs of the client‘
‘Peter Murphy and David Saunders provide sensible and cogent advice, yet can be aggressive and hard-edged where appropriate‘
‘Aaron Dunning-Foreman is a stand-out associate, with an excellent grasp of both case strategy and legal detail‘
‘Aaron Dunning-Foreman is a talented associate and a capable litigator‘
‘Helen Ball and Stuart O’Brien display great knowledge and are keen to engage and understand their client’s needs‘
‘James Bingham is a stand-out partner who has substantial experience and very good litigation judgement‘
‘Peter Murphy, Faith Dickson and Arshad Khan are all leaders in their respective areas and very approachable team players‘
HSBC Bank Pension Trust (UK) Limited
Europe Arab Bank plc and the Trustees of the Europe Arab Bank plc Pension Scheme
TFL Pension Fund
Carillion Pension Schemes
The Trustees of the Citibank Pension & Life Assurance Scheme
ITV Pension Scheme
Honda Motor Europe Limited
Nestle UK Pension Fund
The Trustees of the Arup UK Pension Scheme
The Trustees of the John Lewis Partnership Pension Trust
- Acting for the Trustee of the Arup UK Pension Scheme in a court application for directions regarding a potential change to the index by which pension increases are calculated.
- Representing the trustee of the ITV Pension Scheme in long-running High Court rectification proceedings.
Stephenson Harwood has an exceptionally strong litigation offering with leading names including the 'first-rate' Helena Berman, 'fantastic pensions litigator' Jenny McKeown and the 'fiercely intelligent' Naeem Noor receiving high-profile instructions from a broad client list of representative beneficiaries, trustees and scheme sponsors. Recent matters handled by the team have involved complex regulatory issues, indexing disputes, rectification disputes and professional negligence claims. Berman also leverages her private client expertise on issues in the offshore market. The 'outstanding' Mark Catchpole, who heads the non-contentious practice, covers scheme mergers and consolidations, corporate transactions, master trust implementation and risk reduction exercises.
Mark Catchpole; Helena Berman; Philip Goodchild
‘Stephenson Harwood has a very pragmatic approach to understanding client’s needs and translating them into effective strategy‘
‘The firm brings an enviable mix of experience and capability to both advisory and litigation work‘
‘Mark Catchpole is a seasoned practitioner who commands respect‘
‘Graham Wrightson has a keen commercial instinct‘
‘The team at Stephenson Harwood is willing to fight harder for a client than any other firm‘
‘Jenny McKeown is a fantastic pensions litigator who combines exceptional knowledge, experience and strategic nous‘
‘Helena Berman is a first-rate litigator who any client would want to have on their side‘
‘Mark Catchpole is outstanding‘
‘Philip Goodchild is incredibly hardworking, has a very pleasant and friendly manner, is completely on top of his subject and provides unstinting support‘
‘Jenny McKeown is a fantastic pensions litigator. She combines exceptional knowledge, experience and strategic nous‘
‘Naeem Noor is a true rising star. Fiercely intelligent and great to work with’
Representative Beneficiary of the BT Pension Scheme, Linda Bruce-Watt
Honda Motor Europe Limited and Honda of the UK Manufacturing Limited
Representative Beneficiary of the Wandel and Goltermann Retirement Benefits Scheme
Trustees of the Barnardo’s Staff Pension Scheme
Mercer Limited, Sedgwick Noble Lowndes Limited and Sedgwick Financial Services Limited
Representative Beneficiary of the SPS Technologies UK Pension Plan, Salim Sidat
Trustees of the Bic UK Limited Pension Scheme
- Ongoing representation in a high-value indexing dispute for the Trustees of the Barnardo Staff Pension Scheme.
- Instructed on a £130m rectification claim by Honda Motor Europe Limited and Honda of the UK Manufacturing Limited
- Instructed by a representative beneficiary of the BT Pension Scheme to oppose, at both first instance and on appeal, an application brought by BT to determine whether BT could change the price index used to calculate pension increases.
Baker McKenzie advises a diverse client list of pension trustees and sponsors on the full range of issues relating to their schemes. Practice head Jeanette Holland and senior counsel Robert West are leading figures in the non-contentious space, leading the team on matters including high-value buy-ins and buy-outs, longevity swap transactions, complex funding arrangements, corporate acquisitions and scheme closures. The firm’s litigation team, meanwhile, covers the full range of pensions-related disputes, including regulatory investigations, Pensions Ombudsman complaints (including resolving member disputes), breach of contract claims, professional negligence cases and GMP equalisation issues.
Other key lawyers:
‘A timely, commercial firm that knows the sector well‘
‘The team has excellent strength and depth and is able to provide genuine expertise in all areas of pensions litigation‘
‘The team at Baker McKenzie demonstrates excellent client service while always meeting deadlines‘
‘A very strong team with excellent communication skills‘
‘Arron Slocombe is an excellent all-round lawyer, an extremely safe pair of hands and is excellent with clients‘
‘Robert West has exceptional knowledge and experience of a wide range of legal matters and always seeks to find a sensible solution to any issues that may occur‘
‘Robert West has years of experience and a practiced eye for the art of the possible‘
‘Tom McNaughton is quickly becoming a key player in the practice‘
‘Tom McNaughton is a keen team leader with good legal and strategic judgment‘
Burges Salmon LLP has a particularly strong regulatory offering, with recent instructions involving judicial review applications against the Pensions Regulator and the defence of moral hazard investigations. The firm's client base spans trustees and scheme sponsors in both the public and private sectors, who instruct the team on scheme mergers, buy-ins and other transactions, regulatory compliance, personal pension scheme establishment and GDPR compliance. Justin Briggs and recently promoted partner Suzanne Padmore are stand-out names for pensions disputes, having recently acted on some of the market's most significant professional negligence matters. Further contentious expertise includes rectification actions and pension overpayment recovery. On the non-contentious side, key partners include Richard Pettit, Michael Hayles, Clive Pugh and Alice Honeywill.
Richard Knight; Justin Briggs
‘A highly regarded firm in the industry‘
‘One of the best contentious pensions teams on the market‘
‘Suzanne Padmore is very measured, knowledgeable and impressive‘
‘Very responsive and proactive‘
‘The team is approachable, professional and technically excellent‘
‘Suzanne Padmore is always well-informed, friendly and efficient‘
‘Justin Briggs has a great ability to engage in tactical analysis‘
‘Charlotte Rowland-Frank is very bright and a great team player‘
‘A very experienced, professional, careful and competent team‘
‘Justin Briggs is right at the top of his field‘
‘Richard Pettit manages to explain complex subjects in an easy manner for clients to understand. He is always available and always delivers on time.’
‘Michael Hayles is a great pragmatist and focuses on the issues that really matter to clients. He can be depended on to provide the right advice, even in a time-pressured scenario.’
‘Clive Pugh has a detailed knowledge of the Pensions Regulator and of how the corporate world works, which allows him to cut through complex transactions.’
Trustees of the Silentnight Pension Scheme
Trustees of the Bernard Matthews Pension Scheme
Andrew Newton (Representative Beneficiary; member of the Safeway Pension Scheme)
Phil Shimells (Representative Beneficiary; member of the Univar Company Pension Scheme (1978))
HR Trustees Ltd, the Trustees to the Robert Horne Group Pension Scheme
Honda Group – UK Pension Scheme Trustee Limited
Trustees of the Sea Containers 1990 Pension Scheme
Trustees of the Moeller Electric Group Pension Scheme
Gleeds UK and the Trustees of the Gleeds Group Pension Scheme
Financial Services Compensation Scheme Limited (FSCS)
- Represented Gleeds UK and the Trustees of the Gleeds Group Pension Scheme in a £60m professional negligence case.
- Represented Andrew Newton (Representative Beneficiary; member of the Safeway Pension Scheme) in an equalisation case totalling over £100m.
- Acted for Phil Shimells (Representative Beneficiary; member of the Univar Company Pension Scheme) in relation to the company’s application for rectification and/or declaratory relief.
Pensions litigation has been a particular recent strong point for the team at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, with Samantha Brown acting on significant matters involving GMP equalisation, Section 75 debt applications and Pensions Regulator enforcement cases. The team also counts insurance firms and regulatory bodies on its client roster, with issues ranging from Pensions Ombudsman complaints to professional negligence claims (senior associate Antonia Pegden is an emerging name in the latter, having acted on a number of highly publicised matters). Regular non-contentious mandates include derisking exercises, general regulatory advice, scheme closures, corporate transactions - Michael Aherne is a rising star in this field - high-value buy-outs, scheme funding negotiations and consolidation projects. Rachel Pinto leads on matters for a number of high-profile clients with a particular emphasis on derisking mandates including bulk annuity transactions.
Alison Brown; Paul Lewis
‘The pensions disputes team is extremely knowledgeable, hard-working, customer focused and proactive. It is able to cope with very complex and demanding litigation‘
‘A highly experienced team that is well resourced and provides an excellent quality of advice‘
‘The team is very responsive and thoughtful‘
‘The team provides great market insights, is highly committed and feels very much on your side to get the optimal result‘
‘Samantha Brown is very experienced, easy to work with and calm under pressure. She is technically brilliant‘
‘Alison Brown is highly experienced, commercial and has great insight into pensions regulation‘
‘Rachel Pinto provides quality advice and is a great negotiator‘
‘Michael Aherne provides excellent advice that is always clear and to the point‘
‘Antonia Pegden is very clever, extremely hard-working, thorough and utterly dependable. She is a real team player‘
‘Cathryn Marson provides good conscientious service of high technical quality‘
Lloyds Banking Group
National Institute of Agricultural Botany Trust
Pension Insurance Corporation plc
EY as CVA supervisors of the TXU Energy group companies
- Acted for Lloyds Banking Group in the landmark High Court equal pay proceedings concerning the equalisation of Guaranteed Minimum Pensions.
- Acted for G4S on the test case to clarify the treatment of closed defined benefit pension schemes for the purposes of the section 75 regime.
Osborne Clarke LLP
Osborne Clarke LLP boasts a strong list of trustee clients in sectors such as shipping, financial services, not-for-profit and the public sector, with the team regularly advising on issues involving liability management, actuarial variation calculations, master trust transfers, pension plan exits and scheme closures. Corporate advisory work is another strong point, with the team often handling major restructuring exercises and the pensions aspects of insolvency applications and corporate transactions. On the contentious side, stand-out recent instructions have involved rectification proceedings, professional negligence and regulatory investigations, with a client roster comprising representative beneficiaries, trustees and corporate sponsors. The 'enormously experienced' Jonathan Hazlett leads the team out of Bristol, working with 'steady hand' Paul Matthews and Charles Crowne, who is praised for 'really getting into the trenches with his clients'.
‘Experts in the pensions area‘
‘The team is very approachable and genuinely appear to work well together‘
‘Charles Crowne is great at explaining complex matters in simple language. He really gets into the trenches with his clients and makes them feel safe‘
‘Paul Matthews is a steady hand whose vast experience brings assurance when advising on complex or unusual topics‘
‘Jonathan Hazlett is enormously experienced, very good with clients and brings a sense of calm‘
‘Paul Matthews and Charles Crowne are meticulous in attention to detail but convey their knowledge in a jargon free, understandable way‘
‘The team provides approachable and common sense advice‘
‘An increasingly high-profile presence in the pensions field‘
A representative beneficiary of the Axminster Carpets Pension Scheme
The Pension Protection Fund
Trustees of the Manitou UK Limited Pension Scheme and Manitou UK Limited
A representative beneficiary of the Honda Pension Plan
Scottish Widows Limited
The Trustees of the Colart Pension Scheme and a representative beneficiary of the Colart Pension Scheme
- Acting in a Part 8 claim brought by the trustees of the Axminster Carpets Pension Scheme seeking declarations as to the meaning and effect of various scheme deeds as well as rectification of several documents.
- Acting for the Pension Protection Fund in rectification proceedings concerning the Austin Reed Group Pension Fund.
Squire Patton Boggs is known for its strong pensions expertise in the public sector (including advising on Local Government Pension Scheme issues), trade union and not-for-profit sectors, as well as its work for trustee and commercial clients across a broad spectrum of industries. Regular contentious mandates include equalisation issues, regulatory investigations, scheme transferral disputes and mis-selling claims. The well-regarded Clifford Sims and Wendy Hunter handle non-contentious mandates including scheme mergers, master trust implementation, governance support, investment support, GDPR compliance and public procurement law advice.
Wendy Hunter; Clifford Sims; Victoria Leigh
‘Squire Patton Boggs has the ability to deliver clear advice and guidance within required timescales that are frequently very tight‘
‘This firm manages to take complex areas of the law and make them simple and easy to understand‘
‘Wendy Hunter has the perfect analytical mind for the intricacies of pensions legislation and documentation, and provides a superb client service‘
‘Clifford Sims is thoughtful, considerate, kind and hardworking‘
‘Chris Harper is a promising up-and-coming associate‘
20-20 Trustee Limited
Trustee of the Jaguar Land Rover Pension Scheme
ICI Pension Schemes
Trustees of the Homestyle 2007 Pension Scheme
Bespoke Pensions Ltd
Thames Water Pension Trustees
Southern Water Pension Trustees
IMI Pension Scheme
- Acting for a representative member of the Europe Arab Bank Pension Scheme in an application for the rectification of pension scheme deeds.
- Advised the trustee of the Southern Water Pension Scheme on an investigation by the Pensions Regulator into three successive triennial actuarial valuations.
Key contentious matters for Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP have seen the pensions team advising representative beneficiaries, trustees and national law firms on matters concerning rectification proceedings, historical drafting errors, professional negligence and GMP equalisation. The non-contentious offering has a scheme sponsor focus (including significant expertise in the public sector), with regular mandates including indexing advice, regulatory driven scheme redesigns, asset-backed funding strategy, insurance buy-ins, contract term negotiations and advising on SSAS and SIPPS schemes. Suzanne Duff and Joanna Bromhead lead the firm's contentious offering, while Martin Poore heads up the overall team.
Martin Poore; Suzanne Duff; Joanna Bromhead
‘Suzanne Duff is very experienced, knowledgeable and straightforward‘
‘Joanna Bromhead is diligent, responsive and thoughtful and a very safe pair of hands‘
‘Womble Bond Dickinson has broad experience in all aspects of pensions litigation and dispute resolution‘
The pensions team at Addleshaw Goddard has a strong trustee support offering, advising on member complaints, scheme mergers and amendments, interpreting scheme rules, pension winding up applications, scheme closures and administrator changes. The practice also advises on the pensions issues of corporate transactions. Contentious issues are covered by the commercial litigation offering with regular mandates including professional negligence claims and pension liberation fraud cases. Catherine McAllister is a key partner in the London office.
Catherine McAllister; Rachel Rawnsley; Susan Garrett
‘Responsive to requests. Good working knowledge. Pragmatic approach and clear guidance.’
‘Catherine McAllister has solid knowledge and experience and is always timely in her responses.’
‘Provide timely and pragmatic advice on complex areas.’
The 'phenomenal' team at Allen & Overy LLP advises an extensive list of household name trustees and sponsors on all key issues facing the pensions market including defined contribution master trust implementation, restructuring exercises (including ring-fencing mandates in the banking sector), derisking exercises and GDPR compliance. In addition to their advisory work, Neil Bowden, Maria Stimpson and Jane Higgins have recently been involved in some of the industry’s leading disputes in the High Court concerning GMP equalisation and scheme rectifications. Recently made-up partner Andy Cork has particular expertise on insurance buy-in matters.
‘Top-level, reliable and there when needed‘
‘Allen & Overy builds great relationships, with expertise in the subject matter and a practical business know-how‘
‘Andy Cork and Dana Burstow have an empathetic nature, with the ability to engage with clarity and respect‘
‘Neil Bowden has a deep knowledge of pensions law‘
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
The Trustee of the IHG UK Defined Contribution Pension Plan
Co-operative Group Limited
- Advised Lloyds Banking Group Pensions Trustees Limited on its landmark application to the High Court to determine whether guaranteed minimum pensions (GMPs) need to be equalised.
- Advised SPS Pension Trustees on a High Court rectification case.
The pensions offering at Ashurst, led by John Gordon, is tailored to assist the firm’s household-name commercial clients on all pensions-specific corporate transactions. Recent mandates for the team have included restructuring and insolvency exercises, refinancing arrangements, scheme mergers, insurance derisking exercises and corporate acquisitions. The practice also advises on scheme closures, funding and investment arrangements, automatic enrollment compliance, contractual issues and indexing issues.
‘A team with a very commercial outlook‘
‘A breadth of knowledge across multiple areas‘
‘John Gordon is excellent; he has a full grasp on the details, but also the commercial big picture‘
Recent mandates for the team at Clyde & Co LLP have included advising on scheme restructuring exercises, benefit closures, master trust regulations, SIPPS platforms and scheme risks mitigation arising from corporate acquisitions. The team also advises insurers on their annuity offerings.The firm has a developing contentious pensions practice, often drawing on the firm’s wider litigation department to act on claims relating to professional negligence, historic administration errors and investigations by the Pensions Ombudsman and the FCA. Practice head Mark Howard recently left to join workplace pensions platform Smart Pension as general counsel; key lawyers in London include Paul Hodges and Ivan Wilkinson.
‘Highly effective in the field of professional negligence‘
‘A very responsive pensions team with real strength and depth‘
‘Paul Hodges provides timely, directional and commercially aware advice‘
‘Ivan Wilkinson is completely dedicated to his work; he is very thorough and committed to achieving a result that is in the best interests of the client‘
‘The team is sensible, down-to-earth and approachable‘
Dentons’ pensions team leverages the firm’s corporate credentials to provide pensions-related transactional advice to household-name clients. Insolvency is also a strong point for the practice, with Elmer Doonan having worked on significant recent cases in this field. Regular standalone mandates include master trust implementation, deed restructuring, liability management including bulk transfers and restructuring exercises. Common contentious mandates include GMP equalisation disputes, indexing disputes and rectification claims.
Other key lawyers:
David Knox, Eleanor Hart
‘The team has a wealth of experience with the ability to deal with new issues as they arise‘
‘Elmer Doonan is hugely experienced, thoughtful and extremely driven to produce the best he can for the client. His dedication makes him a lot of fans‘
Official Receiver/Cabinet Office on Carillion liquidation
Barnardo’s Pension Scheme Representative Beneficiaries
Bishopsgate Investments & Hartwell Group
Delta Airlines (UK) Ltd Pension Scheme Trustees
KKR re acquisition of Unilever Spreads and Magnetti Marelli
EQT re acquisition of Azelis holdings SA
Institute of Chartered Accountants for England & Wales
JCB Finance Pension Scheme
Bank of China
Virgin Atlantic Airways
- Advised on a successful appeal by Barnardo’s to the Supreme Court in which it sought to overturn a judgment that held that it could not change the basis of annual pension increases from RPI to CPI.
- Advising Bishopsgate Investments Ltd & Hartwell Group in a dispute over pension increases and the funding of the scheme deficit.
Under the leadership of Matthew Swynnerton, the DLA Piper pensions team advises on a range of big-ticket matters covering longevity swap transactions, insurance buy-ins, GMP equalisation, GDPR compliance, complex benefit scheme changes and defined benefit funding agreements. Recent contentious matters have involved historic drafting errors in relation to equalisation. Swynnerton, who also offers his pensions knowledge to industry guidance initiatives concerning pension scams, works in tandem with Tamara Calvert, who also handles contentious matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘Tamara Calvert is pleasant, knows her stuff and is always helpful‘
‘Associate Beth Casinelli is a good technician who is very good at digging out obscure facts.’
Recent highlights for DWF’s team of pensions litigators include representing scheme sponsors and regulatory bodies before the European courts in matters concerning high-value equalisation matters and PPF compensation limit challenges. Amanda Banister - 'an expert in her field' - leverages her extensive regulatory knowledge to advise on PPF assessment periods and Pensions Ombudsman disputes, while also acting in a broad range of rectification proceedings, professional negligence claims and contentious scheme closures. 'Extremely commercial' practice head Tim Green, who is based in Manchester, is also well-regarded.
Tim Green; Joel Heap
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is extremely knowledgeable of the subject matter, with the relevant experience to draw on and a great style of delivery‘
‘Solutions focused with the client’s objectives always in mind‘
‘Amanda Banister has a great leadership style and is a specialist and expert in her field. Extremely impressive‘
‘Tim Green and Joel Heap are excellent at understanding their client’s needs‘
‘Provides technical knowledge on high-profile cases‘
‘A high-energy, high-class team that has built an impressive case record in a relatively short period of time‘
‘Tim Green is a stand-out individual‘
‘Lucinda Burgoine always produces high-quality work‘
‘Tim Green is a very bright lawyer, extremely commercial and great to work with‘
‘A delight to work with, bringing a sharp intellect and a strongly collaborative style of working to every project. This practice an only go from strength to strength‘
Board of the Pension Protection Fund
Entrust Pensions Limited
Bentley Motors Limited
Trustees of the Nottingham City Transport Pension Fund
Allegion Pension Scheme Trustees
Trustee of the CNA Pension Plan
Representative beneficiary of the Nomura Pension Plan
- Advising the Board of the Pension Protection Fund in the Hampshire v PPF & Secretary of State for Work and Pensions case in the European Court.
- Advising the sponsor in the Safeway v Newton equalisation case.
- Acting for a logistics sector client in a Pensions Ombudsman dispute concerning a former shareholder’s pensions entitlement from a SSAS occupational pension scheme.
- Successfully defended the trustees of the Nottingham City Transport Pension Scheme against a Pensions Ombudsman ill-health benefits claim.
- Assisting the trustee of an industry-wide pension scheme with alternative dispute resolution including arbitral proceedings in respect of 15 non-paying employers.
With an emphasis on advising trustees in the utilities, transport, public and not-for-profit sectors (which have their own unique pensions regulations), the team at Fieldfisher receives regular instructions involving scheme streamlining and redesign exercises, buy-ins, GDPR compliance, scheme closures and pension liabilities issues. The contentious offering is particularly tailored to representative beneficiaries, with recent instructions involving breach of director duties, historic drafting errors and other rectification actions. The 'highly respected' David Gallagher leads the team, working with the 'extremely cerebral' Michael Calvert.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team provides clear and pragmatic support‘
‘David Gallagher is highly respected, with an established reputation built on providing excellent advice‘
‘A great all-round team‘
‘Mike Calvert is extremely cerebral and a joy to work with‘
‘The respect David Gallagher has from clients and other advisers has been built up through the excellent advice he has provided over the years‘
KeyMed (a subsidiary of Olympus Corporation)
- Representing KeyMed Limited in its action against two former directors for breach of fiduciary duties.
The client list of Mayer Brown International LLP’s 'extremely intelligent' pensions team includes the trustees of some of the largest schemes in the market, with a particular emphasis on the energy, electricity, financial services and retail sectors. Significant recent mandates have involved high-value longevity swap transactions, ring-fencing arrangements, investment advice, funding arrangements and multi-employer scheme administration. The firm fields a strong suite of litigators who are regularly instructed on contentious matters relating to entitlement claims, breach of fiduciary duty claims, historical errors, employer obligations and proceedings before the Pensions Ombudsman. The practice is co-headed by Ian Wright and Jay Doraisamy; other key team members include Edward Jewitt, Richard Evans, Richard Goldstein and Andrew Block.
Ian Wright; Jay Doraisamy; Stuart Pickford
‘The extremely intelligent team at Mayer Brown provides insightful and prompt advice, especially when dealing with complicated issues with hard deadlines‘
‘Punctilious and pragmatic‘
‘A very sensible and pragmatic team‘
‘Beth Brown provides fast, intelligent and pragmatic advice. You can’t ask for a better service.‘
‘The team is approachable and able to apply legal issues in a practical way‘
‘Giles Bywater provides advice that is well considered and practical‘
‘Andrew Block has strong interpersonal skills, sound judgement and is overall an excellent lawyer‘
‘Ian Wright has a wide and deep knowledge of all legal and non-legal matters associated with UK pensions‘.
‘Beverly Cox is easy to work with and a safe pair of hands‘
‘A good team with broad experience and strength in depth‘
Pension Protection Fund
Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund Trustees Limited
Massey Ferguson Works Pension Trust Limited
Kingfisher Pension Trustee Limited
Santander (UK) Group Pension Scheme Trustees Limited
JMEPS Trustees Limited
Prudential Staff Pensions Limited
BOC Pension Scheme Trustees Limited
EDF Energy ESPS Trustee Limited
Express Newspapers Pension Trustees Limited
- Represented Massey Ferguson Works Pension Trust Limited and AGCO Limited (the sponsoring employer) in proceedings before the Pensions Ombudsman regarding when members are entitled to an unreduced early retirement pension.
- Representing a participating employer in the Motor Industry Pension Plan in proceedings before the Pensions Ombudsman.
- Advising TTG Pension Trustees Limited on a long-running dispute with a former member of the scheme regarding his claimed entitlement to a pension.
Signet Partners LLP
The 'excellent' Deborah Latimer heads the contentious pensions offering at employment boutique Signet Partners LLP. The team advises a range of trustees, representative beneficiaries, scheme sponsors and industry bodies on mandates including professional negligence claims, scheme rectifications, Pensions Regulator investigations and overpayment recovery.
‘An agile, pragmatic, sensible and proactive team‘
‘Deborah Latimer is sensible and pragmatic‘
‘You will get the personal touch here and a very sensible and experienced one at that‘
‘Deborah Latimer is excellent. She brings a wealth of experience and is pragmatic, intelligent and has sound judgement‘
- Acted for a representative scheme member in interim arrangement and Beddoe applications connected with significant rectification proceedings.
- Advising a former independent trustee of a multi-employer scheme with a Pensions Regulator investigation into the scheme.
- Advising the trustees of a pension scheme on the recovery of a significant over-payment arising from an administrative error and associated professional negligence claim.
Slaughter and May is at the forefront of a number of growing market trends, including the development of collective defined contribution schemes (Sandeep Maudgil is a leader in this field) and complex benefit redesigns including the implementation of master trusts. Charles Cameron is a leading figure for high-value derisking exercises, while Daniel Schaffer regularly advises on scheme mergers and demergers and other benefit redesign projects. Senior counsel Hugh Gittins, who joined the team in 2018 from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP, along with senior counsel Edward Hunniset, has a wealth of transactional experience involving buy-ins, buy-outs and bulk annuity transactions. Recent contentious mandates have involved indexing disputes, Pensions Regulator investigations and member complaints.
Charles Cameron; Sarah Lee
‘A crew of highly intelligent practitioners, exceptionally well resourced and informed at all levels, with a client base that is the envy of the industry‘
‘A very commercial approach, delivered in a highly personable manner. The team thinks things through with an emphasis on getting practical and constructive results‘
‘A highly commercial and pragmatic firm‘
‘The team knows pensions law inside and out‘
‘Daniel Schaffer is simply the best in the industry‘
‘Sandeep Maudgil and Charles Cameron are admirable successors to the practice built up by their predecessors‘
‘Daniel Schaffer provides superb client care‘
‘Isobel Carruthers is very sharp‘
‘Richard Jeens is up-and-coming in the field of pensions disputes and senior associate Peter Wickman is very capable‘
Trustees of the BT Pension Scheme
ITV plc and its subsidiary Granada Group Limited
- Advising the trustees of the BT Pension Scheme regarding an appeal by BT against a ruling from an indexing dispute.
- Advising Granada Group in Court of Appeal proceedings against its pension scheme trustee concerning gilt securities for former directors’ pensions.
Alongside a regular flow of work relating to scheme restructurings, master trust strategy and funding and investment, Taylor Wessing LLP’s pensions team also has significant expertise in the field of pensions liberation fraud; work in this area involves the recovery of assets, data protection and tax issues. 'Extremely diligent' practice head Mark Smith covers all other areas of general advisory support to a client list comprising a healthy roster of scheme sponsors and trustees.
‘The Taylor Wessing pensions team is small but this gives it a real focus on clients.’
‘Mark Smith is extremely diligent in delivering advice in an easy to understand way and is excellent at tackling historic pensions issues’
‘The thoroughness of the advice provided is outstanding’
‘The team is very flexible and always accessible when things are needed urgently’
‘Mark Smith and his team provides an excellent service’
‘Mark Smith is an excellent pensions lawyer and partner. Has a phenomenal eye for detail and vast knowledge on pensions; he must be one of the top pension lawyers in the country. His advice is solid and he fosters great trust with his clients. I know that the advice I receive is well considered, thought through, and practical, and is advice I can trust.’
‘A very well established practice covering numerous disciplines. It is a leader in many fields and that is why I chose to consult them on issues which require specialist advice.’
‘Mark Smith has a very helpful attitude and deals well with clients in meeting situations. His attention to detail is evident in all advice.’
‘I would describe Mark Smith as being genuinely unique, in that he is not only hugely committed to his cases but always totally involved himself. The fact that he immerses himself so deeply results in the client receiving an excellent service.’
‘Excellent support from Georgina Wardrop who is surely destined for partnership soon.’
‘As a trustee of a defined benefits pension scheme I sought advice on a complicated legal matter by Mark Smith. His ability to explain matters to me made it much easier for me to grasp relevant points. His drafting of documents for approval and his explanations were always clear. Mark and his team provided an excellent service and I would have no hesitation to seek further advice from Mark should that ever become necessary.’
Mark Smith is ery strong technically and analytically; fantastic service (turnaround times, willingness to talk around issues rather than move straight to a view but also very clear in conclusions).
‘Mark Smith is extremely diligent in delivering his advice but also takes time to ensure his advice is fully understood by lay trustees. He is excellent at tackling historic issues where the challenge is to identify the discussions and documentation which may go back many decades – prior to the involvement of the current advisers and trustees.’
‘Mark Smith is outstanding. He brings practical wisdom to a deep understanding of all aspects of pensions law. He is my ‘go to’ person on all legal matters, from dealing with member complaints to complex contingent asset arrangements. Brilliant.’
TLT’s client base include significant public sector names alongside a broad range of trustees and employers. Regular mandates cover a breadth of defined contribution and defined benefit pensions issues including bulk liability transfers, master trust structuring, funding agreements, scheme wind-ups and governance advice. The team also has particular expertise on regulatory provisions surrounding SIPPs and SSASs. Recent contentious matters have involved historic drafting errors, overpayment recovery, professional negligence and mis-selling claims. The practice is led out of Bristol by national head Sasha Butterworth, while Ed Fiddick and Victoria Mabbett head up the contentious offering.
Sasha Butterworth; Ed Fiddick; Victoria Mabbett
‘Knowledgeable, professional and quick to identify the commercial issues.’
‘Victoria Mabbett is insightful and personable, yet quick to get to the issues at hand.‘
Trustees of the Wandel & Goltermann Retirement Benefits Scheme
Members of the Bic UK Pension Scheme
- Acted for the trustees of the Wandel & Goltermann Retirement Benefits Scheme in a Part 8 claim which sought declaration in respect of the identity of the principal employer of the scheme.
- Acting for members of the Bic UK Pension Scheme in defending a claim brought by Bic UK Limited for the recovery of substantial alleged overpayments.
The pensions team at Travers Smith LLP works seamlessly with the firm’s wider offering to provide a multidisciplinary approach on sophisticated restructuring mandates, corporate transactions, employer covenant issues and pensions disputes. The practice, which includes established names such as Daniel Gerring, Paul Stannard, Susie Daykin and senior counsel Karen Sahota, recently welcomed Sebastian Reger from Sacker & Partners LLP, who has expanded the derisking offering; insurer buy-ins and buy-outs are a particular strength for the team.
‘A very thorough and practical team of lawyers‘
‘The firm provides excellent technical advice, delivered in a commercial way‘
‘Responsive with a strength in depth‘
‘Daniel Gerring provides very commercial and pragmatic solutions‘
‘Susie Daykin and Carmel Dodd are measured and practical in their approach‘
‘Dan Naylor is always trusted with his advice and guidance‘
‘Susie Daykin and Helen Rowan provide top quality, robust legal advice‘
‘David James is an excellent technician who always gets to the bottom of the problem‘