Rising Stars

Pensions in North West


DLA Piper UK LLP is one of the leading pensions teams in the North West, acting as trusted advisers for high-profile occupational pension schemes such as Universities Superannuation. Operating out of Liverpool, Ben Miller, advises on a full range of issues including investment, funding, tax and compliance. He co-heads the team with Manchester-based Gary Davies who is well-versed in issues relating to the buy-in and buy-out of pension scheme liabilities. Scott Rorke is also located in Manchester and supports with the pensions aspects of corporate transactions.

Practice head(s):

Ben Miller; Gary Davies

Other key lawyers:

Scott Rorke


‘Gary Davies and Ben Miller are pragmatic and very helpful at looking for solutions to issues.’

‘Responsive and understandable.’

‘Approachable and pragmatic.’

‘There is clear and positive chemistry within the team which makes working with DLA Piper a pleasure.’

‘Ben Miller is an excellent communicator; he makes the most complex topics accessible and he and his team are a very welcome support to me in my role which can be challenging and fractious at times.’

‘The people are dedicated, technically very strong and very responsive and personable. They very much work as a team with the client and the other advisers and foster a supportive and collaborative approach, which has in my experience, led to the best outcomes for the client.’

‘Clear, practical and unambiguous advice delivered in an easy to understand way. Commercial in their approach and take time to understand the client’s requirements to ensure value for money and the best outcomes.’

‘Commercial in their approach and take time to understand the client’s requirements. No nonsense, collaborative and outcome focused.’

Key clients

Trustee of the Universities Superannuation Scheme

Trustees of Warburtons Pension and Life Assurance Plan

Trustee of the Royal Rosyth Docklands Pension Scheme

MAG Airport Limited

Trustee of the Royal Insurance Group Pension Scheme

The Trustee of the Trinity Retirement Benefits Scheme

The Trustees of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Retirement and Death Benefits Scheme

Trustees of the Stantec Pension Plan (UK)

Beiersdorf UK Limited

Trustee of the Royal Liver Assurance Limited Superannuation Fund

Trustee of the Jacob’s Bakery Retirement Scheme

The Trustees of the Charles Stanley & Co Ltd RBS

The Trustees of the Greif UK Works Pension Scheme

The Trustees of the Medical Research Council Pension Scheme

Travis Perkins plc

The Trustees of the Owens Corning Pension Plan

Clariant Services UK Limited

The Trustees of the Royal Agricultural Society of England

The Trustees of the Samuel Banner Staff Pension Scheme

Trustees of the Union of Democratic Mineworkers Pension Scheme

The Trustees of the Wheelabrator Group Pension Scheme

The Trustee of the Timpson Group plc Pension Scheme

The Trustees of Johnson Group Defined Benefit Scheme

Trustees of the Carrs Billington Agriculture Pension Scheme

ABB Limited

Trustees of the Pension and Life Assurance Plan of Griffiths & Armour

Trustees of the DISA Industries UK Ltd Pension Scheme

The Trustees of the Weatherbys Pension and Life Assurance Scheme

PJH Group Ltd

Trustees of the Horserace Totalisator Board (1968) Pension Scheme

Trustee of Navigator Terminals UK Pension and Life Assurance Scheme

Lubrizol Limited

Cerestar UK Pension Trust Limited

Bangor University

Arena Housing Group Pension Trustees Limited

Alpla UK Limited

Trustees of the Nichols PLC Retirement Benefits Scheme

The Trustees of the SGS United Kingdom Ltd Retirement Benefits Plan

Vinci Pensions Limited (Trustee)

The Trustees of the PSC Freyssinet Ltd Retirement Benefits

Work highlights

  • Acted for the trustees of the Warburtons Pension and Life Assurance Plan to produce a benefit specification and negotiation of insurance contract terms.
  • Advised the trustees of the Greif UK Pension Scheme on the buy-in of all Works Section pensioner benefits in the scheme with an insurance company (Just).
  • Advised the trustees of the SGS UK Ltd Retirement Benefit Scheme to assist on a complex GMP equalisation, conversion and pension increase exchange (PIE) project.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP acts on pension issues for a number of household names including Kellogg and Carlsberg. The practice is experienced in developing pension laws and policies in addition to advising on transfer deals. Team head Ele Lovering  advises on risk, debt and liability management while Simon Daniel acts for trustees of occupational pension schemes. Charmian Johnson  works on scheme restructuring arrangements and de-risking exercises. Amanda Small  has extensive experience in governance issues and regulatory compliance while Lauren O’Connor  works on scheme restructuring.

Practice head(s):

Ele Lovering

Other key lawyers:

Simon Daniel; Charmian Johnson; Amanda Small; Lauren O’Connor


‘This practice has the strength of size, and having access across all legal specialists and experts, but feels like a personal service firm too.’

‘Charmian Johnson and Amanda Small make an excellent team, working well together and individually, providing guidance and advice which feels reliable and sound. Their personal styles make them easy to work with as part of your own team, as a client. They understand transparency about costs and this in turn allows a trust in them about value.’

‘The service is partner-led, with strong support from all levels below. They offer good value for money, are very responsive and good at delivering to a deadline.’

‘Ele Lovering has a hand in all aspects of her team’s advice, providing a valuable and experienced peer-review process. She’ll share the benefit of her experience across the market with clients, and isn’t afraid to speak up if there are issues that she thinks the client needs to hear about.’

‘Good knowledge of the current and ongoing changes to all aspects of pension law.’

‘Charmian Johnson gives clear unbiased advice and where necessary clear instruction on legal requirements. Listens – debates and is an excellent team player.’

‘Very practical advice on complex issues. Easy to discuss fees with and willing to be flexible.’

‘Amanda Small is knowledgeable, experienced and gives practical advice.’

Key clients

CF Fertilisers UK Limited

Outokumpu Stainless Limited

MSD Animal Health Pension Scheme

NOW:Pension Trustee Limited


Joy Global Industries Pension Scheme

The Cooperative Group’s pension schemes

Carlsberg UK Limited Pension Scheme

Trustee of T Mobile International UK Pension Scheme

Trustee of the Murco 1981 Pension Scheme

Hill Dickinson LLP

Hill Dickinson LLP provides the full spectrum of services in relation to pensions including buy-ins, buy-outs, scheme restructuring, benefit change exercises, litigation and security arrangements. Barry Gibb heads up the Manchester-based practice and covers both transactional and scheme advisory work with expertise in buy-out transactions and mergers. Paula Warnock is well-versed in negotiating settlement schemes pertaining to professional negligence claims in addition to TUPE transfers.

Practice head(s):

Barry Gibb

Other key lawyers:

Paula Warnock


‘A solid understanding of our scheme and how current issues impact it.’

‘Our point of contact, Barry Gibb, has a thorough understanding of our business and fully understands the relevance of the marketplace.’

‘They always look for suitable and appropriate solutions to issues arising.’

Key clients

Edward Billington & Son Limited

Castle View International Holdings Limited

Trustees of the Spencer Holdings plc Pension Scheme

Trustee of the Iggesund (UK) Pension Scheme

Trustees of the HJ Enthoven Ltd Pension Scheme

Swissport GB Limited

Vynova Runcorn Limited

Trustees of the A&P Group Pension Scheme

Port of Milford Haven

Trustees of the Seddon Group 1972 Pension Scheme

Hellmann Worldwide Logistics

Trustees of the K + N Pension Scheme

Trustee of the William Jackson Pension Plan

Trustees of the Grant Pension Scheme

Trustees of the Instem LSS Pension Scheme

S.A.D. Holdings Limited

Trustees of the Multitone plc Electronics plc Retirement Benefits Plan

Trustees of Holmen Paper Pension Scheme

Trustees of the Greenwood & Coope Pension Scheme

Redde Northgate Plc

Parkwood Holdings Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Edward Billington & Son Limited in respect of its pensions obligations to two pension schemes.
  • Acted jointly for the Trustee of the Iggesund (UK) Pension Scheme and the sponsoring employer, Holmen Iggesund Paperboard Limited on a professional negligence claim.
  • Advised the Trustee of the William Jackson Pension Plan to capitalise on a preferable funding position by assessing the Plan’s options to undertake a buy-in transaction.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP has a well-established pensions team with a bluechip client base, acting for complex schemes, financial institutions, insurance companies and providers. The practice advises on restructurings, de-risking and investment arrangements. Practice head Stephen Scholefield operates out of Manchester and advises trustees, employers and pension providers on legal and governance issues associated with defined benefit and defined contribution schemes. Howard Ridley  works on buy-ins and buy-outs while Hayley Goldstone specialises in pension litigation. Robert Tellwright is seasoned in risk transfer negotiation with support from Pippa Read.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Scholefield

Other key lawyers:

Howard Ridley; Hayley Goldstone; Robert Tellwright; Pippa Read


‘Howard Ridley has great understanding of our pension scheme. Howard’s experience allows him to quickly assess our requests for assistance and provide the guidance we need.’

‘Pinsents Masons’ Manchester team has supported us for many years on pensions de-risking transactions. The pensions team is dynamic, can work to short deadlines and has resources across both Manchester and other regions across the UK to provide support to the Just business.’

‘Rob Tellwright has an excellent technical knowledge, is commercially pragmatic and has successfully supported us on many pensions de-risking transactions.’

Key clients

Balfour Beatty Pension Fund

Royal Ordnance Pension Schemes

Laird Pension Scheme

Unite the Union Pension Scheme

Newell Rubbermaid UK Pension Scheme

Mercer Limited and Mercer (Ireland) Limited

Baxi Group Pension Schemes

Just Group

Capita Pension and Life Assurance Scheme

Eurotunnel Pension Schemes

Representative beneficiaries of the Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund

Makro Staff Pension Scheme

Work highlights

  • Advised the trustee of the Balfour Beatty Pension Fund on a wide range of matters.
  • Avised Just Group plc on a series of buy-ins.
  • Advised the Capita Pension and Life Assurance Scheme on a largescale strategic governance and documentation project.

Weightmans LLP

Weightmans LLP has a broad client base ranging from employers, trustees and pension providers to central government, health, emergency services and private sector contractors. Practice head Mark Poulston handles the full spectrum of matters including risk reduction projects, resolution of disputes and aspects of corporate transactions. The team has been strengthened by the arrival of Cat Ellis  from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP.

Practice head(s):

Mark Poulston

Other key lawyers:

Cat Ellis


‘The documents I supplied to Weightmans were examined and the advice I received confirmed that I had contacted the right people.’

‘The individual I worked with was Mark Poulston and I was immediately impressed with his friendly professional approach and how quickly he understood the intricacy of my problem.’

‘I found that the communication I had with Mark Poulston was excellent, emails were replied to immediately and if he was away from the office he would reply to voice mail messages without delay and it was a pleasure to have a conversation with him on the telephone.’

‘Our organisation has worked closely with Weightmans for a number of years. The staff are very professional and helpful, and they all seem to know who is dealing with which areas in the organisation, so whether pensions, HR or other legal matters, they can quickly refer you to the right person in the organisation who can support you.’

‘Able to get up-to-speed quickly. Value-added advice with a reasonable cost structure.’

‘Mark Poulston has been fabulous. He provides practice advice and is able to get us quick reviews when needed.’

Key clients

The Scheme Advisory Board for the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme

Equality and Human Rights Commission

Southbank Centre Limited

Surrey Police

Sussex Police

Anixter Limited

Colas Limited

N Brown Pension Trustees Limited

Bridgewater School

The Post Office

The Football Pools Limited

London Business School

Swissport GB Limited

Greif UK Limited

Greenbank College


Work highlights

  • Appointed as legal adviser to the national Scheme Advisory Board (SAB) of the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme.
  • Advised several trustee and employer clients, including Greif UK Limited, on insurance buy-ins and buy-outs of liabilities under defined benefit pension schemes.
  • Appointed by several clients, including Colas Limited, to provide an outsourced case handling service for the payment of death in service benefits under group life insurance and pension schemes.

Brabners LLP

Brabners LLP is appointed as legal advisor to the trustee boards of a number of trade union staff pension schemes in addition to expertise in social housing. The practice is headed by Ian Mylrea who is recognised for his experience in relation to executive pension schemes and bulk transfers. Siu Yin Ho provides support on pension scheme mergers and is well-versed in de-risking projects.

Practice head(s):

Ian Mylrea

Other key lawyers:

Siu Yin Ho


‘The team were excellent and fully supported our exit from a defined benefit scheme.’

‘Ian Mylrea was vey supportive and explained things very clearly. He worked closely with our third party actuarial advisors and we were very happy with the outcome.’

‘The relationship that Brabners have with other advisors, eg actuary, professional trustees and other legal firms is extremely useful in ensuring all aspects are considered in multi layered situations.’

Key clients

Arighi Bianchi and Co Limited

Trustees of the Radio Links Communications Limited Retirement Savings Plan

Scottish Autism

Camfil Limited

Peaks & Plains Housing Trust Limited

Ebor Trustees Limited

Cobalt Housing Association

Trustees of the Clydebank Co-Operative Society Ltd Employees Superannuation Fund

Bridgestone Europe NV/SA UK Branch

Caritas Diocese of Salford

Catalyst Choices

Trustees of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Retirement Benefits Scheme

Shaw Trust

Trustee of the Hydreco Hydraulics Limited Section of the Deloitte Pensions Master Plan

Trustees of the Beaverbrooks the Jewellers Staff Life Assurance and Pension Plan

Trustees of the Hallé Concerts Society Retirement Benefits Scheme

Trustees of the Dunlop GRG Holdings Limited Pension Scheme

Trustees of the H.S.T. Feeds Limited Retirement Benefits Scheme

Trustees of the Corps of Commissionaires Retirement Benefit Scheme


Trustees of the Germinal Holdings Limited Retirement Benefit Scheme

Trustees of the National Union of Journalists Staff Pension Scheme

Trustees of the Farr Filtration Limited Pension Plan

Trustees of the Corps of Commissionaires Retirement Benefit Scheme

Panasonic Manufacturing (UK) Limited

Faltec Europe Limited

Trustees of the National Association of School Masters and Union of Women Teachers Managed Pension Plan

Trustees of the Terrence Higgins Trust Pension Scheme

Work highlights

  • Advised Camfil Limited on the closure of its final salary pension scheme valued at approximately £12 million.
  • Supported Shaw Trust in negotiations with a LGPS administering authority in relation to the terms of an agreement.
  • Advised the Caritas Diocese of Salford on its exit from the Local Government Pension Scheme.


The North West team at CMS has particular expertise in pensions disputes in addition to pension restructuring and PPF-related matters. Tim Green leads the practice and is regularly involved in pension litigation and issues relating to master trusts. John Hanratty specialises in public law matters while Alexandra Tomlinson advises on day-to-day non-contentious issues.

Practice head(s):

Tim Green

Other key lawyers:

John Hanratty; Alexandra Tomlinson


‘City of London strength-in-depth in the regions. Excellent reputation, thoroughly deserved.’

‘Tim Green is a highly commercial, pragmatic lawyer who understands what we are seeking to get out of our legal advice and partners with us to deliver first class advice.’

‘Good team, broad knowledge across the gamut of pensions issues with real expertise in relation to the PPF and public sector.’

Key clients

Trustee of the Motor Industry Pension Plan

Trustee of the Nottingham City Transport Pension Scheme

Trustee of the Furness Building Society

Board of the Pension Protection Fund

Trustee of the Scottish Solicitors’ Staff Pension Fund

Trustee of the Reynards UK Ltd Section of the SME Centralised Pension Scheme

Fujifilm Imaging Colorants Limited

Oasis Community Learning

Trustees of the Hoare Lea & Partners 1978 Pension and Life Assurance Scheme

P&O Ferries

TPT Retirement Solutions

Scapa UK

Trustee of the ASD Plc Retirement Benefits Scheme

Ulster Independent Clinic

Trustee of the Southern Steamships (London) Ltd Pension Scheme

Trustee of the Quinto Crane & Plant Limited Pension Scheme

Trustee of the Magnum Group Pension Scheme

Trustee of the John Smedley Limited Staff PLAS

Trustees of the Parker Hannifin Pension and Death Benefit Plan

Work highlights

  • Advised TPT Retirement Solutions on day-to-day issues arising in relation to the TPT Master Trust.
  • Advised the Board of the Pension Protection Fund and PPF panel trustee firms on PPF assessment period cases in both England and Scotland following some high profile sponsor failures.
  • Advised the Trustees of The Munro & Miller Fittings Limited Retirement Benefits Scheme in relation to assessment period matters and enforcement of a parent guarantee through the Scottish and French Courts.


Working with a host of listed corporates and private companies across a number of sectors, Fieldfisher's capabilities span pensions tax regimes, benefit changes, and buy-ins and buy-outs. North West practice head Jeremy Harris is a highly experienced and active adviser with wide-ranging expertise. Other key names include Katie Whelan, who regularly works with both employers and trustees of occupational pension schemes on high-value mandates. All named lawyers are based in Manchester.

Practice head(s):

Jeremy Harris; David Gallagher

Other key lawyers:

Katie Whelan

Key clients

Trustees of the Sibelco UK Occupational Pension Scheme No

Trustees of the Warwick International Group PensionSchemeNo

Trustees of the Cooper Consolidated Pension Plan No

Trustees of the MTL Instruments Group Pension Scheme

Trustees of the British United Turkeys Retirement Benefits Scheme

Trustees of the Blankstone Sington Staff Pension Fund

Trustees of the Danisco (UK) Limited Pension Plan

Trustees of the Coleherne Limited (1976) Retirement Fund

Trustees of the WJB Pension Fund

Trustees of the Willsher & Quick Pension Scheme

Work highlights

Gateley Legal

Gateley Legal provides services to pension schemes at the middle and smaller end of the market with expertise in the development of pension bonds. Patrick Kennedy heads the practice and works on sole trustee appointments and co-trustee cases. Stuart Evans is well-versed in drafting pension scheme deeds and advising employers and trustees of occupational pension schemes. Sarah Sabin is experienced in professional negligence issues and rectification of pension scheme documentation.

Practice head(s):

Patrick Kennedy

Other key lawyers:

Stuart Evans; Sarah Sabin; Hannah Francois; Jess Pigg


‘They understand the trustee perspective very well as many of the practitioners also act as professional trustees.’

‘Stuart Evans is personable and pragmatic.’

‘Patrick Kennedy is very experienced and a safe pair of hands.’

‘Pragmatic and commercial, the team are a delight to work with.’

‘Patrick Kennedy – a guru of pensions law, but with the instincts of a street-fighter when you need someone to fight your corner.’

‘Stuart Evans is calm, reassuring presence, an old head on relatively young shoulders.’

‘Knowledgeable and dedicated.’

Squire Patton Boggs

The pensions team at Squire Patton Boggs has a number of key specialisms including de-risking solutions, buy-ins, buy-outs, corporate deal support and scheme consolidations. David Griffiths  leads the practice out of Manchester with expertise in defined benefits, defined contributions, unfunded and small self-administered schemes. Victoria Leigh is well-versed in disputes and acts for employers, trustees and advisors on regulatory matters.

Practice head(s):

David Griffiths

Other key lawyers:

Victoria Leigh


‘Pragmatic, understandable legal advice delivered on time and at a competitive price.’

‘I work with David Griffiths – who is always available and provides the advice needed to solve the problems that crop up form time to time. David is very good at explaining complex legal matters in a way that is understandable for lay trustees – enabling them to make well-informed decisions.’

‘A wide range of skills delivering at all times practical advice.’

‘Easy to work with and always ready to help.’

Key clients

Trustees of Gas Controls Equipment Limited Retirement Benefits Scheme

Trustees of the Sappi UK Pension Scheme.

Bestrustees Limited

Marriott Hotels

Young & Co.’s Brewery, P.L.C.

Trustees of British Coatings Federation Retirement Benefits Scheme

The RJ Kiln & Co. Limited Pension and Assurance Scheme

Representative Beneficiary of the Newell Rubbermaid UK Pension Scheme

Representative Beneficiary of the Humberclyde Pension Scheme

Representative Beneficiary of the National Transcommunications Limited Pensions Plan

Work highlights

  • Advised Trustees of the Sappi UK Pension Scheme on its £150M Bulk Purchase Annuity transaction with Standard Life covering its 1,300 members.
  • Advised Trustees of Gas Controls Equipment Limited Retirement Benefits Scheme on an innovative pension funding arrangement.
  • Advised Bestrustees Limited on a complex GMP equalisation project which formed an essential part of concluding the buyout of their pension liabilities with Aviva.

gunnercooke LLP

The expert advisers at gunnercooke LLP cover all areas of pensions including recent developments in the public sector, education sector and master trusts. Suresh Bhatt is recognised for his work within the small scheme risk settlement market. Ginevra Gatrell‘s practice encompasses private-sector pension schemes within the charities sector.

Other key lawyers:

Suresh Bhatt; Ginevra Gatrell

Work highlights

  • Advised a board of trustees of Collective Enterprise Limited Retirement and Death Benefit Scheme in relation to a very small scheme (£1.6m) on insuring all its liabilities in a record year of pension scheme insurance deals.

Shoosmiths LLP

Shoosmiths LLP's team is well-regarded for its work on scheme mergers, buy-in projects, wind-ups, restructurings and advice on public service pension schemes. Paul Carney is well-versed in several areas including litigation, corporate support and restructuring of pension provision. Alexandra Ventham is noted for her expertise in pension disputes.

Practice head(s):

Paul Carney

Other key lawyers:

Alexandra Ventham


‘Shoosmiths are very responsive and actively engage with their customers in a meaningful manner, specifically seeking to improve their practises and how they connect with their clients.’

‘Paul Carney is incredibly responsive, practical and persuasive. He is excellent at translating what can be quite a heavy subject to professional and lay trustees alike. He crafts reasonable and commercial solutions to complex pension matters, and is a fantastic negotiator. Paul is often the voice of reason in a room, with his manner and approach being a critical presence to reach a good outcome.’

‘Paul Carney is consistently reliable in terms of being available for meetings and providing written responses in often tight timeframes. When dealing with a pension query, a number of colleagues from across the business are involved and Paul is always able to explain the issue and risks and offer solutions in a manner that is understandable and practical. He is approachable and keen to assist and ensure the advice provided is accurate, sufficiently detailed and addresses the issue.’

Key clients

The Trustees of the Trafford Park Printers (1990) Pension Scheme

PSA UK / Stellantis

The Trustees of the Hexcel Composites Pension Scheme

BCA Limited

Elior UK Limited

Trustees of the Evergreen Pension Plan

Civica UK Limited

Ampleforth Abbey Pension Scheme Trustees

Trustees of the Shoreham Port Pension Scheme

Work highlights

  • Advised the trustees of the Hexcel pension scheme in relation to its (two) buy-in projects to insure benefits for known scheme members.
  • Advised the Stellantis group in relation to its ongoing restructuring / rationalisation of its provision of retirement benefits to its UK workforce.
  • Advised the trustees of the Evergreen Pension Plan in relation to the risk to and the ramifications for the scheme of a cyber-attack on the scheme’s principal employer.


The pensions team at TLT has a niche specialism in SIPP and SSAS work with experience in advising on the mitigation of business risks. Damien Garrould handles the full spectrum of matters including compliance with pensions law, pension tax issues and trust law matters. Kate Beech is well-versed in buy-outs and buy-ins in addition to winding up of pension schemes.

Practice head(s):

Damien Garrould

Other key lawyers:

Kate Beech


‘Specialist advice on pension legislation, with firm being multi-specialist enabling further support.’

‘Very knowledgeable, clear advice and excellent input on SIPP client book acquisition transactions and risk.’

‘Damien Garrould provides very clear advice in plain English. Knowledgeable about the risks for an incoming owner of acquiring an existing pension business. Great commercial knowledge of the industry. Very helpful in updating on current topics and themes.’

Key clients


PSG SIPP Limited

Government Legal Department


Boolers Pensions and Investments

Work highlights

  • Advised PSG SIPP Limited on the acquisition of a book of circa 5,000 SIPPs.