Pensions (non-contentious) in London
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 the trustee of the ICI Pension Fund on the purchase of 15 buy-in insurance policies over a four year period.
- Advised Pennon Group on the rationalisation of the client’s pension schemes into one defined benefit and one defined contribution scheme.
- Advised the Trustees of the Wyeth Group Pensions and Life Assurance Scheme on the purchase of a £200m buy-in annuity contract with Just Retirement.
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.
Other key lawyers:
‘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‘
Zurich Assurance Limited
The Trustees of the Teachers Assurance Group Pension Scheme
The Trustees of the Aon Retirement Plan
The Trustees of the Ernst & Young Retirement Benefit Plan
The Trustees of the RBS Group Pension
Universities Superannuation Scheme
Trustees of the Wedgwood Pension Scheme
Atos Pension Schemes Limited
Punter Southall Governance Services
Aon Hewitt Limited
Legal & General Pension Fund Trustee Limited
Legal & General Pension Scheme Trustee Limited
- Advising an oil and gas company on the UK pensions aspects of a project to segregate its business and pension arrangements into three parts.
- Advising RBS Group Pension Fund on negotiations with the bank relating to changes the bank was required to implement to comply with new ring-fencing requirements.
- Acted for the trustees of the BAA Pension Scheme on a £325m pension buy-in transaction with Legal & General.
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.
Francois Barker; Jeremy Goodwin; Claire Carroll
‘Huge depth of resource within the firm that they can call on; exposed to all the main cases/issues.’
BHS2 Pension Trustees Limited
Legal & General
Tesco Pension Scheme
GE Pension Trustees
Trustee of the New Airways Pension Scheme
Electricity Pensions Limited
Trustee of the P&O Pensions Scheme
Trustee of the BT Hybrid Pension Scheme
Trustees of the Airways Pension Scheme
Department for Work and Pensions on the Simpler Annual Statement
Trustee of the People’s Pension Scheme
Deloitte UK Pension Scheme
Trustee of the Petrotrin Employees Pension Plan
Lend Lease UK Pension Scheme
Trustee of the Trinidad Contractors Pension Scheme
Trustees of the General Motors UK pension schemes
Trustees of the PSA Group pension schemes
DXC and CSC Computer Sciences Corporation
McGraw Hill Pension Plan Trustees
Department for Transport
Airways Pension Scheme Trustee Limited
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
- Acted for New Airways Pension Scheme on the proposed closure by BA of the scheme to future benefit build-up.
- Advised Legal & General on a £2.4bn buy-out for the Nortel Networks UK Pension Plan, covering circa 15,500 pensioner members and circa 7,200 deferred members.
- Handling a suite of instructions for GE Pension Trustees including the restructuring and proposed $18bn spin- off of GE’s Healthcare and Baker Hughes Divisions.
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.
Katie Banks; Angela Dimsdale Gill
‘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‘
Kier Pensions Group
Kodak Pension Plan
Trustee of the Pilots National Pension Fund
Trustee of the Royal Mail Defined Contribution Scheme
Trustee of the Pilkington Superannuation Scheme
Trinity Mirror plc
Trustee of the Audit Commission Pension Scheme
Trustee of the Nortel Networks UK Pension Plan
Representative beneficiary of the Airways Pension Scheme
Halcrow Group Limited
Dalriada Trustees Ltd.
Board of the Pension Protection Fund
- Advised the trustees of the SEGRO Pension Scheme on the purchase of a bulk insurance policy to fully secure all members’ benefits.
- Advising the Former Registered Dock Workers Pension Fund on putting the scheme into winding-up and methods for distributing surplus funds.
- Advised RPC Containers Pension Trustees on the bids by Apollo and Berry for the purchase of the entire issued share capital of RPC Group plc.
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
‘Claire 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‘
British Airways plc
Coats UK Pension Scheme
Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund
Uniq pension scheme
- Advised Marks and Spencer Pension Trust Limited in relation to two buy-in contracts with a combined value of £1.4bn.
- Advised the Trustee of Rentokil Initial 2015 Pension Scheme in connection with a buy-in covering 14,200 members in a £1.6bn deal with the Pension Insurance Corporation.
- Advised Sainsbury’s in relation to the pensions aspects of its proposed merger with Asda.
'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‘
National Grid Pension Scheme
HSBC Pension Scheme
Nestlé UK Pension Fund
Lloyds Your Tomorrow Trustee Ltd
TfL Pension Fund
John Lewis Partnership Pensions
Bank of England Pension Scheme
DHL Pension Plans
GSK Pensions Plans
HSBC Bank Pension Trust (UK) Limited
Europe Arab Bank plc and the Trustees of the Europe Arab Bank plc Pension Scheme
Carillion Pension Schemes
The Trustees of the Citibank Pension & Life Assurance Scheme
ITV Pension Scheme
Honda Motor Europe Limited
The Trustees of the Arup UK Pension Scheme
The Trustees of the John Lewis Partnership Pension Trust
- Advised the trustees of the Interserve Pension Scheme in relation to the company’s complex refinancing.
- Advised on a number of major projects for the Siemens Benefits Scheme including a £1.3bn pension buy-in and a bulk pension increase exchange exercise.
- Advised the trustee of the £32bn HSBC Bank Pension Scheme in light of the banking reform ring-fencing implemented by HSBC.
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‘
BT Pension Scheme (Trustees)
Caterpillar Pension Plan (Trustees)
E.ON UK plc
Railways Pension Trustee Company (Trustee of Railways Pension Scheme (RPS), and other legacy railways related pension schemes)
SCA UK Pension Plan (Trustees)
ConocoPhillips Pension Plan (Trustees)
Legal & General
PA Pension Scheme (Trustees)
Phillips 66 Pension Scheme (Trustees)
Pirelli & C. SpA
Severn Trent Pension Schemes (Trustees)
Tata Steel (UK)
Trustees of the BT Pension Scheme
ITV plc and its subsidiary Granada Group Limited
- Sole external legal adviser to Royal Mail in relation to the design and development of its proposed collective defined contribution scheme.
- Advising Railways Pension Trustee Company Limited on a range of issues including PPF issues, covenant advice, implementation of employer pensionable pay caps, bulk transfers, implications of franchise changes and valuation matters.
- Advising E.ON UK on a suite of pension matters including a complex benefit redesign.
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‘
Merchant Navy Officers Pension
British American Tobacco
Alphabet (Google’s parent company)
Lloyd’s of London
- Advised Merchant Navy Officers Pension Fund on the completion of a £490m buy-in with Legal & General, covering pension benefits for retirees since 2014.
- Designed and documented a bespoke funding arrangement with a detailed long-term self-sufficiency plan for Tyco Electronics UK Pension Plan.
- Advised Emerson during its acquisition of Pentair’s Valves and Controls business, including a UK defined benefit pension plan and a separate UK defined contribution plan.
- Advised Lloyd’s of London in relation to its proposal to close the two defined benefit sections of its UK pension scheme to future accrual.
- Advised Kimberly Clark on closing the Kimberly Clark Pension Scheme to further accrual of both defined benefits and money purchase benefits and replacing the Scheme with a Master Trust arrangement for all its employees.
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.’
Western Power Distribution
UK Atomic Energy Authority
Department for Education
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)
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
- Ongoing advice to the trustees of the Silentnight Pension Scheme regarding a significant regulatory matter.
- Advised the trustees of the Brunel Holdings Pension Scheme on the successful merger of three existing schemes in the group into a new, £2.2bn scheme.
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.
Glyn Ryland; Peter Shave
Pension Protection Fund
Universities Superannuation Scheme
Thales UK Pension Scheme
Mitchells & Butlers Pension Plans
PGL Pension Scheme
Pirelli UK Pension Funds
Weetabix pension schemes
Volvo Car UK Limited
Fujitsu UK Services pension schemes
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
- Appointed via tender to the Pension Protection Fund’s panel of legal advisors.
- Acting as sole legal adviser to the trustees of the £4bn ICL Group Pension Plan (of Fujitsu Services Limited). Recently advised on benefit scheme changes, investment guidance and strategic governance structure.
- Serving as sole legal adviser to the trustees of the £3bn Thales UK Pension Scheme.
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
Pension Insurance Corporation
TUI Travel Limited
Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Lloyds Banking Group
National Institute of Agricultural Botany Trust
Pension Insurance Corporation
- Advised Scottish Widows on its £77m bulk annuity transaction with the trustees of the Barry Wehmiller International Retirement Benefits Scheme.
- Advising the Commonwealth Bank of Australia on the pensions aspects of its A$4.13bn divestment of its global asset management business.
- Advised TUI Travel on the closure of its defined benefit sectionalised pension scheme to future benefit accrual.
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‘
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
- Represented the trustees of the National Grid Electricity Group of the Electricity Supply Pension Scheme on a £2bn longevity insurance swap transaction with Zurich.
- Advising the trustees of the ITB Pension Funds on implications of the master trust legislation and on requirements as to authorisation.
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. The team 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
Other key lawyers:
Charlotte Scholes; Hayley Goldstone
‘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’
Coca-Cola European Partners (trustee)
Legal & General
RWE nPower (trustee)
Babcock International Group(trustee)
Singapore Airlines (trustee)
Devonport Royal Dockyard pension scheme trustee
Univar UK Limited
UGC Pension Trustees Limited
BT Pension Scheme
Scottish Pension Fund Trustees Limited
- Advised the trustees of the Sotheby’s Pension Scheme on a number of key projects including a £100m buy-in policy with Just Group.
- Supporting an ultra high-value defined contribution master trust though the Pensions Regulator’s authorisation regime.
- Advised the trustee of the Singapore Airlines Pension Scheme on rectifying historic benefits in line with a Court of Appeal decision around the interpretation of the scheme rules.
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‘
Trustee of the MGN Pension Schemes
Trustee of the Nortel Networks UK Pension Plan
Trustee of the British Steel Pension Scheme
Trustee of the Akzo Nobel (CPS) Pension Scheme
Trustee of the Sony United Kingdom Pension Scheme
Trustee of the C&J Clark Pension Fund
Trustee of the Clarks Flexible Pension Scheme
Micro Focus International PLC
Trustee of the UBM Pension Scheme
Trustee of the Willis Pension Scheme
Trustee of the BAE Systems Pension Scheme
- Advising the trustee of the MGN Pension on the implications for the scheme of the acquisition by Reach of certain assets of the scheme sponsor, Trinity Mirror.
- Ongoing legal support to the trustee of the C&J Clark Pension Fund and the Trustee of the Clarks Flexible Pension Scheme including advice in relation to the closure of both schemes to future accrual.
- Advised the trustee of the Sony United Kingdom Pension Scheme on the closure of the defined contribution section of the scheme and the subsequent transfer of circa £100m of assets to a master trust.
- Advised the trustee of the British Steel Pension Scheme on the complex restructuring of the £15bn British Steel Pension Scheme (sponsored by Tata Steel).
- Advised the trustee of the Nortel Networks UK Pension Plan on securing member benefits and the exit from the PPF assessment.
Specialist pensions boutique ARC Pensions Law is well-placed to handle all non-contentious issues for trustees, scheme sponsors and other law firms, with an emphasis on occupational defined benefit and defined contribution schemes. Anna Rogers is a leading name for defined benefit wind-up actions, bulk purchase annuity transactions, regulatory audits and scheme demergers, while Rosalind Connor often advises on pensions arrangements for corporate transactions including sales, acquisitions, buy-ins and insolvency. Anna Copestake is a go-to name for scheme restructuring, pensions investment arrangements, liability management, master trusts and governance.
Chris Mullen; Anna Rogers
‘The firm’s commercial approach stems from a genuinely deep understanding on pensions law and the market‘
‘There is a wealth of knowledge and experience in the team‘
‘Rosalind Connor and Anne-Marie Winton are leaders in the field, with top-notch expertise and excellent client-handling skills‘
‘Anna Copestake is extremely good at getting at the nub of any problem quickly and suggesting pragmatic and effective solutions‘
The Littlewoods Pension Scheme
King & Spalding International LLP
Promethean Investments LLP
Vinci Airports SA
Haynes Publishing Group plc
The Trustee of the Penguin Pension Plan
Gatemore Capital Management LLP
Trustees of the London United Busways Retirement Benefits Plan
National Express Group plc
- Acted on the pensions aspects of Phoenix Group’s £3.2bn acquisition of the insurance business Standard Life Aberdeen.
- Acted for the Littlewoods Pension Scheme in preparing for, negotiating and completing a bulk annuity contract with Scottish Widows.
- Advising on the defined benefit aspects of Promethean Investments’ $53m takeover of Produce Investments via a Jersey investment vehicle.
- Advised on the pension issues surrounding Vinci Airports’ investment in Topco Limited (Gatwick Airport’s parent company).
Clifford Chance LLP’s pensions practice has a particularly strong investment and transactional offering, having recently handled a number of high-value insurer buy-ins, corporate M&A deals and their associated pensions aspects, asset-backed funding arrangements and the establishment of investor vehicles including captive insurance arrangements. Other recent instructions have concerned scheme closures, pension separation arrangements and general advice concerning member queries. The offering is predominantly tailored to scheme sponsor clients with a number of key trustee clients also on the roster. Go-to names in the team are Hywel Robinson and Clare Hoxey.
Other key lawyers:
Mitchells & Butlers plc
Legal & General
Babcock International Group PLC
Trustee of the Dairy Crest Group Pension Fund
The Co-operative Bank plc
- Advising Legal & General on its £4.4bn buy-in with the Airways Pension Scheme.
- Advised Melrose on the pensions aspects of its £8.1bn takeover of GKN.
- Advising the Co-operative Bank on a pension separation exercise in relation to the £11bn Co-op pension scheme
- Ongoing advice to Mitchells & Butlers on a potential rectification action.
- Ongoing advice to a confidential trustee of a telecoms scheme on numerous issues including scheme closures, buy-ins and complex transfer exercises.
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.’
Hitachi Rail Europe Limited
Universities Superannuation Scheme Limited
Novartis UK Pension Scheme
National Grid (ESPS)
E.ON UK (ESPS)
Du Pont (U.K.) Limited Pensions Fund
The Premier League
- Advising the trustee of the £4bn National Grid Electricity Group of ESPS on a longevity hedge transaction.
- Advising the £3.5bn E.ON UK Pension Scheme on a range of benefit changes proposed by the sponsoring employer.
- Ongoing advice to the Pension Scams Industry Group on its industry guidance in this complex and high profile area.
- Advice to numerous trustee clients on implications of the Lloyds judgement in relation to GMP equalisation.
- Advice to numerous trustee clients on the implications of GDPR.
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‘
Trustees of the British Energy Generation Group
Electricity Pension Trustee Limited
Trustees of the various Arriva plc pension schemes
Trustees of the Carillion Group of the Electricity Supply Pension Scheme
Trustees of the General Medical Council Pension Scheme
Trustees of the DZ Bank AG London Branch Pension Plan
- Advising the trustees of one of Arriva’s pension schemes on a major buy-in exercise for all pension benefits.
- Advising Meredith on the sale of its UK business and the financial commitment to its legacy defined benefit pension scheme.
- Acted for the trustees of the British Energy Generation Group in a complex reallocation of members’ benefits between three pension schemes.
- Advising the trustees of the Carillion Group of the Electricity Supply Pension Scheme on issues relating to Carillion’s liquidation.
Focusing primarily on non-contentious issues, Norton Rose Fulbright’s pensions team advises a host of trustees and corporate clients on the full range of matters including GMP equalisation, funding negotiations with the Pensions Regulator, liability management, scheme buy-outs and master trust implementation. Peter Ford also has a leading practice advising on the investment side of pensions such as significant longevity swap transactions and fiduciary management arrangements. The team often assists the corporate practice on the pensions specific aspects of sales and acquisitions. Fellow London partner Lesley Browning is praised for her 'exceptional experience of solving novel problems'.
Peter Ford; Lesley Browning
‘A rare combination of strong technical knowledge combined with a recognition of the need to balance legal considerations against commercial and practical considerations’
‘The whole team is approachable and delivers advice in a way that is unambiguous and clear to understand’
‘Peter Ford is utterly unflappable, has great vision about how to structure a project and is thoroughly charming.’
‘Lesley Browning has really strong technical pensions knowledge and exceptional experience of solving novel problems in the very biggest industry-wide schemes.’
‘Shane O’Reilly is very switched on and technically knowledgeable, but wears his learning lightly – he is effortlessly reassuring to clients.’
‘Giannis Waymouth knows as much about GMP equalization as anyone else in the country.’
Accolade Wines Ltd
Arthur J Gallagher & Co
AXA UK plc
Barclays Bank plc
Boston Consulting Group
Carlsberg UK Limited
Carrier Trustees Limited
CEMEX UK Pension Trust Limited
Cheviot Trustees Limited (as trustee of the Cheviot Trust)
Chubb Services UK Limited
Civil Aviation Authority
Cooper Tyre & Rubber Co. Europe Limited
Crest Nicolson plc
Hayward Tyler Pension Plan Trustees
HSBC Bank Plc
Hydro Aluminium Deeside Ltd
Hyperion Insurance Group Limited
ING Bank NV
Invensys Pension Scheme Trustee Limited (as trustee of the Invensys Pension Plan)
Irish Pensions Trust Limited
Lancaster Landmark Hotel Company Limited
Lyondell Chemical Europe inc.
McLaren Technology Group Limited
MS Amlin plc
NPSO Limited (now Pay.UK Ltd)
Olympus Management Limited
P&H Pensions Trustee Limited
Punter Southall Aspire Ltd
Royal Bank of Canada
Stena Drilling Limited (company, previously have advised the trustees)
Stena Line Ltd
Sun Life of Canada
Tokyo Electron Group Limited
Trustee of the IPT Group Pension Plan
Trustee of the Oxford Instruments Pension Scheme
Trustee of the Steel Construction Institute Pension Scheme
Trustees of the Bayerische Landesbank Retirement Benefits Scheme
Trustees of the BBVA London Pension Plan
Trustees of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (UK) Staff Benefits Scheme
Trustees of the Crown Agents Superannuation Scheme
Trustees of the Dover Harbour Board Pension and Life Assurance Scheme
Trustees of the J.J. Churchill Ltd Executive Pension Plan
Trustees of the M.C.C. Pension and Assurance Scheme
Trustees of the National Bank of Abu Dhabi Pension and Life Assurance Scheme
Trustees of the Shaw Group UK 1997 Pension Scheme
Trustees of the SITA Defined Benefit Pension Scheme
Trustees of the Stena Drilling Ltd Money Purchase Scheme
Trustees of the Thomson Pension Fund
Trustees of the West of England Ship Owners Insurance Services Ltd Retirement Benefits Scheme
V Ships UK Ltd
Vitality Life Limited
Vroon Offshore UK Limited
- Advising CHAMP on pensions aspects of the A$1bn sale of its interest in Accolade Wines to Carlyle Group.
- Advising the Trustee of the Invensys Pension Scheme on the implementation of its guaranteed minimum pensions reconciliation and rectification programme.
- Advising a major international engineering company on the implementation of liability-management exercises for its two UK defined benefit pension schemes.
PwC LLP’s pensions offering largely caters to the firm’s corporate sponsor clients, who instruct the team on a broad scope of matters for their high-value pension schemes. A strong point for the team involves working alongside the firm’s actuarial and tax practices to deliver innovative asset-backed funding arrangements including property-based arrangements. Further mandates include pension liability management (including contentious indexing issues), scheme restructuring exercises, auto-enrollment compliance advice, corporate transactional assistance and ESG planning. Oliver Reece heads up the team, which also includes Fraser Sparks and David Farmer.
Trustees of the Ageas Insurance Staff Pensions Scheme
The Freshwater Group of Companies
Kin & Carta (formerly St. Ives)
Confidential public manufacturing company
- Advised SIG on the implementation of a £45m asset-backed funding structure for the SIG Pension Scheme.
- Advised Interserve on a £834m pension refinancing structure.
- Advised the Freshwater Group of Companies on the restructuring of its pension arrangements including the closure of its defined benefit scheme to future accrual and the implementation of an enhanced defined contribution scheme.
- Advised Aston University on the successful closure of future accrual of its defined benefit scheme.
- Advising the BBC on all matters relating to pensions including liabilities and risk management.
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‘
Southern Water Pension Scheme
South Yorkshire Pension Authority
West Midlands Pension Fund
Allianz Retirement and Death Benefits Fund
Action For Children Pension Fund
Combined Nuclear Pension Plan Trustees Limited
Combined Nuclear Pension Plan Trustees Limited
Panasonic UK Pension Plan
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
- Advised on strategic investment arrangement for the South Yorkshire Pensions Authority’s £8bn scheme.
- Providing scheme merger advice including cross border and insolvency issues for Allianz Pension Fund Trustees Limited.
- Advising on the establishment of a defined contribution master trust for Combined Nuclear Pension Plan Trustees Limited.
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’
Trustees of the Victrex Excepted Group Life Assurance Schemes 2, 4 and 8
Trustees of the Bic UK Pension Scheme
Trustees of the Holmesdale Building Society
The Trustees of the Barnardo Staff Pension Scheme
Mizuho Capital Markets
Standard and Poors
Harvey Nichols Pension Scheme
First UK Bus Pension Scheme Trustee Limited
Representative Beneficiary of the BT Pension Scheme
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
Trustees of the Bic UK Limited Pension Scheme
- Advised the trustees of the Victrex Excepted Group Life Assurance Schemes 2, 4 and 8 on the amalgamation of three existing excepted group life assurance trusts into one trust.
- Acted for the trustees of the Bic UK Pension Scheme on a number of matters concerning the benefit structure of the pension scheme.
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; the Leeds-based Rachel Rawnsley heads the practice nationally.
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.’
Celesio (Admenta Lloyds Pharmacy)
Trustee of the Citrus Pension Plan
Trustee of the three CGI pension schemes
Trustee of the Credit Agricole CIB Legacy Pension Scheme
Trustee of the Gulf International Bank Pension Plan
Trustees of the Delbanco Pension Plan
Trustees of the Holland & Holland Pension Plan
Trustees of the Unisys Public Sector Pension Scheme
Trustees of the P&O Ferries 2008 Division Pension Scheme
Wolseley (now Ferguson)
Large business in the rail industry
- Advised the trustee of the P&O Ferries Division 2008 Pension Scheme on the employer’s proposal to close the defined benefit scheme to future pensionable service.
- Acting for the trustee of the Citrus Pension Plan, a multi-employer sectionalised scheme with circa £300m assets.
- Instructed to advise on matters relating to Freightliner’s participation in the Railways Pension Scheme.
- Advising the trustee of the Credit Agricole CIB Legacy Pension Scheme on the full range of issues concerning its circa £400m pension scheme.
- Advising Terra Firma on the pensions aspects of a corporate sale.
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‘
West Coast Trains Limited
Department for Transport
Coca Cola European Partners
Clement Clarke Pension Trustees Limited
The Trustees of the NIAB (1996) Pension Scheme
- Advising the trustees of the NIAB (1996) Pension Scheme on all legal matters regarding the £40m scheme including benefit design and funding issues.
- Advised Interserve on the administration, restructuring and refinancing of the pension scheme.
- Provided advice concerning the pensions aspects of the client’s administration sale to Johnston Press Plc (now JPI Media Limited).
- Advised OMV Aktiengesellschaft on the pensions aspects of its £578m acquisition of Shell’s Upstream business in New Zealand.
- Advised Keolis Amey in relation to the pensions aspects of Keolis Amey’s successful bid for the 15-year Wales and Borders Rail Franchise.
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
Recent mandates for the Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP team - which is led by David Dennison - include advising on scheme mergers, indexing issues, GMP equalisation and GDPR advice, as well as handling documentation error issues and scheme restructuring exercises. The firm's client list comprises a healthy roster of trustees and a number of key corporate names. Further mandates include benefits harmonization exercises, Pensions Regulator compliance and pension winding up exercises.
2Care Pension Scheme
Trustees of the Bank of America Pension Plan for UK Sterling Paid Employees
Jacobs Douwe Egberts UK Pension Plan Trustees
Lockheed Martin UK Pension Plan Trustees
Glencore Agriculture UK Ltd Pension Scheme
WDFG (World Duty Free Group) Pension Fund Trustees
Zionist Federation Staff Pension Scheme
The Minit Pension Fund Trustees
Nordea Bank London Pension Fund Trustees
Charles Russell Speechlys LLP counts a number of high-profile charities, not-for-profits and livery companies on its client list, alongside a number of key trustees, sponsors and individual scheme members. Recent highlights for the team include assisting with scheme buy-outs, scheme rule interpretations, governance reviews, restructurings, corporate acquisitions, risk reduction and regulatory advice. Practice head Michael Jones’ private client offering focuses on issues surrounding pension transfers, fixed protection issues and overpayment issues. Jones also receives praise for his expertise in auto-enrolment matters.
‘Charles Russell Speechlys has the ability to mobilise fast to bring a successful outcome to cases in a short time period‘
‘Provides reliable advice and an outstanding service‘
‘Demonstrates a client-oriented commitment‘
‘Michael Jones is calm and orderly in his approach to matters‘
City & Guilds
Smith & Williamson Trustees Ltd
Dalriada Trustees Limited
Atkin Trustees Limited
- Advised a major US technology company on a major governance review of its UK pensions schemes.
- Advising the pension scheme trustees for a City of London Livery Company in respect to the potential buy-out of a well-known UK livery company.
- Advising a major European technology company in respect to the interpretation of scheme rules.
- Advising confidential pension scheme trustees on a range of pension issues including in relation to trustee structure and governance roles an administrator change.
- Advised a major private equity firm on complex pension aspects of an acquisition.
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
Institute of Chartered Accountants for England & Wales
JCB Finance Pension Scheme
Bank of China
Virgin Atlantic Airways
- Advised the Cabinet Office and the Official Receiver on all pension issues in the Carillion liquidation. This included 13 large defined benefit pensions schemes and three defined contribution pension schemes and all issues in their transfer to the Pension Protection Fund.
- Ongoing advice to the trustees of the Delta (UK) Pension Scheme including advising on the impact of GDPR, putting in place changes to the Trustee Board and amendments to the scheme to reflect the requirement for partial transfers out.
- Advising KKR on pensions aspects of a number of purchases over the year including its acquisition of the Unilever Spreads business for £6bn and Magneti Marelli for $7.1bn.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP's pensions offering covers the full range of non-contentious matters including scheme funding negotiations, scheme mergers, corporate transactions, restructuring exercises and de-risking arrangements.
The Macfarlanes LLP pensions team has recently enjoyed a regular flow of de-risking mandates from scheme sponsors including bulk annuity transfers, buy-ins, buy-outs and longevity swap arrangements. Further regular mandates include providing advice to trustees and sponsors on GMP equalisation, establishing defined contribution master trusts, scheme streamlining and harmonization arrangements, Pensions Regulator interventions and funding negotiations. Practice head Camilla Barry also assists the wider firm's top-tier corporate department on the pensions aspects of M&A deals, while Andrew Barton heads the pensions de-risking practice.
Other key lawyers:
Andrew Barton; Sheamal Samarasekera
‘The team are extremely knowledgeable but very practical at the same time. Very impressive.’
‘Sheamal Samarasekera provides excellent, practical support and is always extremely responsive.’
Legal & General
Pernod Ricard S.A.
The Pension SuperFund (PSF Benefits Limited)
Hogg Robinson plc
600 Group plc
Lufthansa UK Pension Trustees Limited
SCOR Global Life
Apollo Global Management
ATP (as shareholder of Now: Pensions Limited)
Maybourne Hotels Limited
The Trustees of the United Airlines Inc. UK Pension Plan
Fred Olsen Limited
Groupe Fnac Darty
- Assisting Lufthansa UK Pension Trustee Limited with re-drafting the trust deed and rules for three Lufthansa group defined benefit pension schemes.
- Advising Legal & General on its first streamlined longevity insurance arrangement for a smaller defined benefit scheme covering approximately £300m of liabilities.
- Advising Hogg Robinson on the pensions aspects of its takeover by American Express worth up to £410m, and the simultaneous disposal of Fraedom, its payments technology subsidiary, to the US credit card giant Visa in a deal worth £142m.
- Advising PSF Benefits Limited in relation to the establishment of a defined benefit consolidator to be known as The Pension SuperFund.
- Advising 600 Group on a £210m buy-in to buy-out transaction.
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‘
Pension Protection Fund
LGPS National Procurement Framework for Legal Services (including sole legal adviser to the Environment Agency Pension Fund)
Trustees of the Imperial Tobacco Pension Fund
Trustees of the Kohler Mira Pension Scheme
Transport for London
Fyffes plc / Total Produce Limited / Geest Line Limited
Brunel Pension Partnership
Outward Bound Trust / Mayday Trust / Ramblers’ Association / Finton House Educational Trust / Manchester High School for Girls
Trustees of the Global Marine Systems Pension Plan
Trustees of the Lincoln Staff Pension Plan
Caledonia Investments plc
Trustees of the Sharp Electronics (UK) Limited Pension Scheme
Trustees of the Grant Thornton Pensions Fund
Trustees of the Muntons Pension Scheme
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
- Retained advisers to the trustees of the £100m Global Maritime Systems Pension Plan.
- Ongoing advice to 10 Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) funds following the creation of the Brunel Pension Partnership in 2017, which acts as a £27.5bn investment pool for LGPS assets.
Reed Smith LLP
Reed Smith LLP’s extensive client list comprises occupational pension schemes of household names in the aviation, not-for-profit, hospitality, telecoms and insurance sectors, among others. Recent mandates have seen the team advising on legacy defined benefit amendments, liability management initiatives, scheme mergers and demergers, member queries, high-value buy-ins and scheme reorganisation exercises.
Simon Hartley; Justine Senior; Will Sutton
‘The team is diligent and timely in providing simple and practical advice‘
‘Has a depth of knowledge, a willingness to support and provides practical solutions‘
‘Provides accurate, detailed knowledge of UK pensions legislation with a very pragmatic approach‘
‘Justine Senior is an absolute pleasure to work with. She is a knowledgeable and trusted adviser that cuts through complexity with good interpersonal skills. A real pleasure to work with‘
‘Justine Senior and Will Sutton both provide responsive, clear and direct advice with a clear commitment to achieving the best outcomes. All this with a friendly approach tailored to the client’s needs‘
‘Has a total commitment to getting the job done‘
‘Simon Harley has an ability to cut through detail and complexity to provide clear, pragmatic advice‘
De-risking exercises make up a significant proportion of work for the Simmons & Simmons team, which also handles complex enhanced transfer offers, buy-ins, buy-outs and defined benefit accrual restructuring exercises. The team, which is by Danny Tsang with support from Bristol-based James Dean, also advises on asset-backed funding strategy, regulatory compliance and the pensions aspects of cross-border M&A transactions. The client base comprises a large number of household-name financial institutions as well as public bodies, consumer goods companies and trustees across various sectors.
Other key lawyers:
‘Danny Tsang leads the team well, is strong on client support and is easily available when needed‘
‘James Dean gives clear advice, communicates well and takes full account of the needs of his clients‘
‘Simmons & Simmons has a supportive, friendly and highly professional team of pensions lawyers‘
‘A strong team that is able to handle all pensions issues‘
‘Edward Smith gives excellent, very clear and timely advice in difficult situations‘
Anheuser-Busch InBev Group
Doosan Babcock trustees
Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People Pension and Assurance Scheme
West Ferry Printers Pension Scheme
Confederation of Health Service Employees (COHSE)
- Providing ongoing advice to the trustees of the £650m InBev UK Ltd Pension Plan and Stag Brewing Pension Plan.
- Advising BASF on a wide range of pensions matters, including substantial changes to the plan documentation to consolidate several sections and complex historic provisions.
- Acting for the trustees of the £450m Doosan Babcock scheme in relation to several day-to-day matters, including GMP equalisation and reconciliation and GDPR compliance.
- Advising the trustees of the Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People Pension and Assurance Scheme on its negotiations with the plan’s sponsor and ultimately on the plan’s transition to the PPF.
- Advising the trustees of the West Ferry Printers Pension Scheme in relation to the takeover by the Trinity Mirror Group element of the Express Newspaper Group.
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‘
Procter & Gamble
Go-Ahead Group plc
Taylor Wimpey plc
Sabic UK Petrochemicals Limited
Research Machines plc Pension Scheme
- Advising Procter & Gamble on the pensions implications of its decision to acquire Merck Group’s consumer health division in a $4.2bn deal.
- Advising the trustee of the Go-Ahead Group Pension Plan on the sponsor’s proposal to change future pensions increase rates from RPI to CPI.
- Involved in a number of key projects including an insurer buy-in and an enhanced transfer value exercise for the trustees of the 600 Group Pension Scheme.
- Advising on a significant benefit redesign exercise for Accent Group Limited.
- Advising Stadler on the pension implications of its contract to maintain trains on the Wales & Borders passenger rail franchise.
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‘
NHBC Pension Scheme
Liberty House Group
Occupational Pensions Defence Union
British Medical Association
Clement Clarke Holdings
A Bilbrough & Co
Harris & Dixon Insurance Brokers Limited Pension and Life Assurance Scheme
BMS Associates Limited Pension & Assurance Scheme
DAC Beachcroft LLP has a growing pensions offering and counts a healthy list of public bodies, professional services providers, trustees and commercial names on its client roster. Recent work has involved de-risking transactions, pension scheme wind-ups, mergers, equalisation issues and auto-enrolment compliance. Neil Bhan has experience with governance and risk management strategy as well as advising on the pensions aspects of corporate transactions.
Alex Lock; Neil Bhan
Trustees of the Conran Shop Pension Scheme
Lancashire County Council
London Luton Airport
North East London Foundation Trust
Trustees of the GEA defined benefit Pension Scheme
Trustees of the Royal Institution of Great Britain Pension Scheme
Royal College of Occupational Therapists
- Advising Lancashire County Council on the pensions issues of the merger of its investment and administrative services.
- Advising Luton Airport on complex derisking issues of its defined benefit pension scheme.
- Advising McDonald’s on issues including auto-enrolment and trust deed amendments.
- Advising the Trustees of the Royal Institution of Great Britain Pension Scheme on complex equalisation issues.
Freeths LLP handles a broad range of issues for corporate clients, with regular mandates including updating trust deeds and rules, advising on pension scheme liabilities arising from acquisitions, indexing issues and GDPR compliance. The team has recently provided expertise with advising on auto-enrolment requirements and pension harmonisation issues for international businesses entering the UK market.
Irwin Mitchell draws on the strength of its private wealth practice to position itself as a go-to name for international pensions arrangements, including in relation to offshore holdings and associated tax issues. Penny Cogher and Martin Jenkins also provide broad advisory support to trustees and sponsors for issues including Section 75 liabilities, scheme redrafting and scheme rule updating exercises (including in the context of scheme mergers), defined contribution master trusts, bulk transfers, GDPR obligations and pensions issues arising from corporate transactions.
Penny Cogher; Martin Jenkins
‘The firm gives clear, practical advice, dealt helpfully and constructively with the other firms involved and was able to act swiftly when needed, making use of the resources within the team.’
‘Penny Cogher demonstrated relevant and practical knowledge of law. She was able to provide alternative ideas – we took her advice and were glad we did.’
‘We were reassured not only by Penny Cogher’s advice but by her willingness to take on a matter with some unusual features and to help us find a solution.’
RPMI Limited – pension administrators of the Railway pension scheme
Pan Trustees – various schemes including Federated Pension Plan
- Handled the pensions aspects of Camfil AB’s £6m acquisition of Bushbury Holdings.
- Assisted a US corporate with updating its UK pension scheme rules to reflect an earlier scheme merger.
- Advising a global conglomerate on UK pension questions.
- Advising trustees on an enhanced transfer exercise and a pensioner buy out.
- Advising on defined contribution master trust arrangements.
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.’
Independent Trustee Services
Royal British Legion Staff Pension Fund trustees
Trustees of the Lynx Technology Limited Pension and Life Assurance Scheme
Visa UK Pension Plan trustees
HR Trustees Limited
- Advising Pi Trustees as appointed by the Pensions Regulator to investigate a pension scheme suspected of having been used as a vehicle for pensions liberation fraud.
- Advising the trustees of the Lynx Technology Limited Pension and Life Assurance Scheme on a proposed bulk transfer of assets and liabilities to a master trust and consequent wind-up of the scheme.
- Advising the trustees of the Royal British Legion Staff Pension Fund on complicated funding and security arrangements for the scheme.
- Advising the trustee of the Royal British Legion Womens Section 1984 Money Builder Retirement Benefit Scheme on an insurance buy-out of the scheme.
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.‘
Fujitsu Retirement Services Trustee
Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime
Arkema Bostik Pension Trustee Limited
Biffa Waste Services Limited
Trustees of Colas (UK) Pension Plan
Trustees of the Wandel & Goltermann Retirement Benefits Scheme
Members of the Bic UK Pension Scheme
- Prepared a new definitive trust deed and scheme rules for Arkema Bostik Pension Trustee Limited following the completion of a merger between two pension schemes.
- Advised a major international bank in relation to complex funding arrangements in relation to its UK defined benefit pension scheme.
- Advising the trustees of an industry-wide pension scheme on a wide range of complex legal issues in the run up to the proposed winding-up of the scheme.
Trowers & Hamlins LLP is retained by a large number of employers, including significant housing associations, to advise on the full range of pensions issues. Recent instructions have seen the team handle risk management exercises such as scheme closures and bulk transfers, insurance buy-ins, governance issues, funding agreements, master trust strategies, GMP equalisation issues and complex scheme mergers. The practice, which is led by Martin McFall, also applies its pensions advisory expertise to corporate transactions handled by the wider firm.
‘Trowers & Hamlins is a source of sound, commercially viable advice‘
‘Martin McFall is always concerned with finding a pragmatic and practicable solution to any issue‘
Bromford Housing Group
Tower Hamlets Community Housing
- Sole legal adviser to Bic, with recent matters involving GMP equalisation, valuation negotiations and Pensions Ombudsman inquiries.
- Advising on a range of matters including entering into deficit agreements, negotiating security arrangements and bulk transfers for Bromford Housing Group.
- Advising Peabody Trust on the statutory amalgamation process of an organisational merger involving complex pensions issues.
- Advising Tower Hamlets Community Housing on the pensions aspects of the client’s statutory conversion to a community benefit society.
- Assisted Anchor Trust regarding the transfer of Hanover Housing Association’s pensions liabilities follow a merger with the client.
The trustee-focused practice at Wedlake Bell LLP provides the full range of pensions advice to clients in sectors such as foods, food and leisure, manufacturing and not-for-profit. Regular instructions see the team advising on restructuring exercises (including in respect to PPF arrangements), funding strategy, employer covenants, member security arrangements, documentation updates and flexible apportionment arrangements. The team also has expertise in advising high net-worth individuals on their offshore pension arrangements. The 'pragmatic and proactive' Justin McGilloway heads up the practice.
‘A very responsive team that provides practical advice‘
‘Justin McGilloway provides pragmatic, timely advice, is very proactive and nice to deal with‘
‘Justin McGilloway, Clive Weber and new partner Alison Hills are all very sound and pleasant to work with‘
Scandinavian Airlines Pension and Assurance Scheme
Terrence Higgins Pension & Assurance Scheme
Natixis Pension Scheme
Jotun Paints (Europe) Limited Pension Scheme
Capital Radio Pension Plan
Steamship Insurance Management Services Limited Pension Scheme
Carlton Tower Pension Scheme
Carpenters Company Pension Scheme
Sumi Agro Pension Scheme
Davis Langdon LLP Pension Scheme
- Advising Scandinavian Airlines Pension and Assurance Scheme on a restructuring exercise with particular focus on the PPF entry rules.
- Advising the Capital Radio Pension Plan on compliance with GDPR.
- Advising Jotun Paints (Europe) Limited Pension Scheme on scheme funding and employer covenant issues.
- Advising WNS Services on the pensions aspect of outsourcing contracts with private sector financial services companies.
- Review and update of the scheme documentation for the Sumi Agro Pension Scheme.