Next Generation Partners

Pensions in North

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP frequently advises clients operating in the financial services sector on pensions trust schemes and money purchase schemes, also acting for trustees of pension plans on investments and advising local counsels on obligations relating to local government pensions scheme liabilities following alterations of contracts. The team, based in Newcastle, is led by Martin Poore, who provides day-to-day advice to trustees on the financial management of various pension schemes. The experienced Suzanne Duff is a key contact for both contentious and non-contentious guidance, while Gavin Ellison focuses on restructuring and transition management matters concerning schemes. Associates Kelly Beattie and Paul Rosenzweig provide key support.

Practice head(s):

Martin Poore

Other key lawyers:

Suzanne Duff; Gavin Ellison; Kelly Beattie; Paul Rosenzweig


‘Suzanne Duff’s knowledge of the pensions industry is not only excellent but also one can be sure that she is bang up to date with the latest developments. I always learn something new when I speak to Suzanne and it is usually an industry development that is off the general radar or a particular angle on a subject that hasn’t been considered by other parties dealing with the company pension scheme.’

‘In the work the firm has done the lawyers have been very thorough and proactive, giving sound advice and challenging the company legal representatives where necessary, but also building a good rapport and cooperation with them.’

‘In particular Suzanne Duff has been excellent, leaving no stone unturned, and always available for advice when needed. She also involves her team in meetings so that there is continuation should she be unavailable.’

Key clients

Liverpool Victoria Financial Services Limited

Northern Powergrid plc

Trustee of the Go-Ahead Group Pension Plan

The Trustees of the Newcastle Building Society Pension and Assurance Scheme

Trustees of the Lincolnshire Co-operative Pension Scheme

Broadacres Housing Association


Vehicle Lease and Service Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising LV= on moving to a master trust for future DC accrual and subsequently undertaking a bulk transfer of all its existing DC accounts into the master trust.
  • Advising Northern Powergrid on its section of the Electricity Supply Pension Scheme (ESPS) and its own occupational money purchase scheme.
  • Advised the Trustee of the GoAhead pension plan on the legal aspects connected with the £669m acquisition of the Go-Ahead Group plc by a consortium made up of Kinetic Group and Global via Inversiones.

Neon Legal

Based in Newcastle, Neon Legal is home to a 'highly skilled specialist, independent team of pensions experts’, advising trustees of large pension schemes on buy-in and buy-out liabilities. The team, led by Tushar Bhate, advises employer groups, ranging from small businesses to public sector organisations, on trustees’ maladministration, making representations to the Pensions Ombudsman.

Practice head(s):

Tushar Bhate


‘Neon Legal provided an excellent service in setting up our individual defined benefit pension scheme. Tushar Bhate was the primary contact for that exercise and has remained so for a more recent exercise to update the Pension Scheme’s Trust Deed and Rules. Not only has Tushar demonstrated thorough knowledge of the subject, but has also been extremely approachable and prompt with the progression of our requirements.’

‘Tushar Bhate stands out for his approachability and co-operation as well as expertise.’

‘Whilst we have dealt with other legal firms from time to time, it is the personal touch at Neon Legal which we value the most.’

Key clients

Trustees of the Atkinson Northern Retirement Benefit Scheme

px Group

Vertu Motors PLC

Work highlights

  • Advised the Trustees of a FTSE 100 Company with a pension scheme with over 3,000 members, on all aspects of a scheme buy-in and buy-out with a value of over £500 million.
  • Advised a group of employers on breach of trust, prescription and limitation in respect of a s.75 debt and a petition to the Court of Session in respect of the Plumbing & Mechanical Services (UK) Industry Pension Scheme.
  • Advised the Trustees of the Atkinson Northern Retirement Benefit Scheme in respect of the wind-up including the buy-out of the benefits with an insurance company.