Pensions in North

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

The large, dedicated practice at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP has a national client base. The group is noted for its core specialisms; regulatory expert Suzanne Duff maintains close links to key bodies such as the DWP, while Tracy Walsh heads up the public and voluntary sector pensions unit, cementing the firm’s reputation for excellence in that field. In addition to its strong reputation for advisory work, the practice also has a proven track record in handling contentious pensions work. Martin Poore leads the team.

Practice head(s):

Martin Poore

Other key lawyers:

Suzanne Duff; Tracy Walsh

Testimonials

‘The team is dynamic, collaborative and solutions-focused, and provides a high quality and value service.’

‘The team provides practical solutions to challenging issues. They understand us, our business and the sector we work within.’

‘Tracy Walsh has a vast experience of pensions and in particular local government and SHPS schemes. She is able to communicate technical solutions to a wide audience.’

‘The practice was recommended to me by a colleague. The advice required was complex and required an in-depth understanding of our position. The team were able to bring themselves up to speed quickly. The advice given was extremely beneficial to us and with their help we were able to complete the process smoothly and quickly, meeting a very tight deadline.’

‘The individuals I worked with were extremely professional at all times. They took time to understand our requirements, they demonstrated insight and a pragmatic approach to a difficult situation.’

‘Very professional and very reactive to new legislation.’

‘I have dealt with the Pensions Practice at WBD for over 15 years and find them excellent to deal with. They give clear and concise advice and will not unless absolutely necessary surround it with a lot of caveats. They have adapted extremely well to the new working environment and have used the technology available.’

‘The partner I work with is Suzanne Duff who is an outstanding lawyer with huge experience in pension matters. She always looks for a solution and is not afraid to stand her ground when the other sides’ lawyers disagree. ’

Key clients

Liverpool Victoria Financial Services Limited (LV=)

Northern Powergrid (North East) plc

Trustees of the British Safety Council Pension Scheme

Trustee of the Futamura British Pension Scheme

Trustee of the Go-Ahead Group Pension Plan

The Trustees of the Newcastle Building Society Pension and Assurance Scheme

Trustees of the Sapa Holdings Limited Pension and Life Assurance Scheme

Trustee of the VA Tech (UK) Pension Scheme

Work highlights

  • Advising Liverpool Victoria Financial Services on its own defined benefit pension schemes and the pension and retirement solutions it offers to its customers.
  • Advised the trustee of the Futamura British Pension Scheme on the cessation of additional voluntary contribution saving in the defined benefit scheme in connection with a project to provide a simpler saving platform for members of the scheme using a contract-based pension savings arrangement.
  • Advising the trustee of the Go-Ahead Group Pension Plan on its ongoing obligations in relation to the pension plan (a complex hybrid pension arrangement) and supporting the trustee’s in-house pension administration centre with day-to-day issues.

Irwin Mitchell

The team at Irwin Mitchell is best known for its provision of a full advisory service to trustees and sponsoring employers of occupational pension schemes. The practice also stands out for its focus on documentation and technical expertise; recognised senior associate Kate Byers acts as the head of the pension documents offering, and is noted for her 'considerable presentation and communication skills'. Other recommended practitioners include London-based Martin Jenkins, who oversees the firm's national pensions department, and associate Lucy Herbert - the two 'make a winning team' and are singled out for their 'nuanced and pragmatic approach'. 

Practice head(s):

Martin Jenkins; Kate Byers

Other key lawyers:

Lucy Herbert

Testimonials

‘Martin Jenkins and Lucy Herbert make a winning team for my clients. They are always available at short notice and have a nuanced and pragmatic approach to delivering advice.’

‘From this practice we receive in-depth pensions knowledge and experience together with approachability and responsiveness.’

‘Our principle contact is Kate Byers who has a deep pensions knowledge together with many years experience of our scheme. She is always very thorough and responsive to our needs, displaying considerable presentation and communication skills.’

‘Kate Byers presents professionally, well researched and on time. She grasps issues and their political ramifications quickly and advises accordingly and promptly.’

‘The Irwin Mitchell team provides the best blend of price and performance. We receive expert advice from experienced professionals at appropriate levels at a price commensurate with their experience.’

‘Good, always well presented. Advice, training and documents delivered on time.’

Key clients

PAN Trustees UK LLP (and other companies within their corporate group)

Trusteeship: Fishing Co-operative (UK) Ltd Retirement & Death Benefits Scheme

Work highlights

  • Worked with the trustee board of a housing association sponsored pension scheme providing both defined benefit and defined contribution benefits to update its data protection policies, agreements and procedures.
  • Assisted the independent trustee of a defined benefit master trust with a re-documentation project for their passported, multi-employer, multi-benefit structure pension scheme.
  • Advising the trustee board of a manufacturing and engineering sponsored defined benefit pension scheme on its full buy-in project in anticipation of a potential future buy-out.

Neon Legal

Boutique firm Neon Legal provides a comprehensive pensions law service to employers, trustees, members and other professional firms throughout the UK. Head of pensions Tushar Bhate is the key contact.

Practice head(s):

Tushar Bhate