Pensions in South East

Osborne Clarke LLP

In May 2022, Osborne Clarke LLP acquired the five-strong Reading pensions team from BDB Pitmans, led by David Hosford and Chris Netiatis. The team has a track record in acting for a wide variety of clients on matters ranging from general advice to buy-ins, GMP conversion and equalisation issues, and non-cash funding schemes. Hosford handles work including consolidating trust deeds and rules, PPF assessments, and other liability management issues, with particular expertise in reorganisations, restructures, and mergers. London-based senior associates Sarah Miller and Catriona Darnell are also recommended, with experience including Miller’s practice advising pension scheme sponsors and Darnell’s work on corporate transactions.

Practice head(s):

David Hosford; Chris Netiatis

Other key lawyers:

Catriona Darnell; Sarah Miller; Lee Colgate

Testimonials

‘The team are personable and pragmatic. Their costs are competitive and good value. Their experience is wide-ranging.’

‘David Hosford has consistently demonstrated a keen interest and great deal of care with the pension scheme.’

‘David Hosford and Sarah Miller have excelled in their efficient and comprehensive responses to our current project to transfer a DC section of our trust to a Master Trust. There were wrinkles along the way which were not expected, but the team navigated these well and ensured we remained on track to deliver the project on time.’

‘Continuity of lead adviser ensures that legal advice and services are provided with a deep understanding of the pension scheme. Working to agreed budgets for pieces of work.’

Key clients

Belfast Harbour Commissioners’ Pension Scheme

Continental Group Pension & Life Assurance Scheme

Standard Group (UK) Pension Scheme

Mitsui UK Retirement Benefits Plan

Chas A Blatchford & Sons Limited Group Pension Scheme

Danfoss Power Solutions Pension Plan

Denley King Partnership (1988) Retirement Benefits Scheme

Bridport Pension Plan

Leo Pharma Retirement Benefits Plan

Medusa Pension Scheme

Plasser Machinery Parts & Services Limited Pension & Assurance Scheme

Campden BRI/Flour Milling & Baking Research Association Pension & Assurance Scheme/Campden RA Pension Scheme

Mitek UK Retirement & Death Benefit Plan

J. Murphy Group Pension Plan

State Bank of India (UK) Pension Scheme

Institute Of Directors (1997 Pension Plan)

Continental Teves UK Employee Benefits Scheme

Elster (UK) Pension Plan

J O Grant & Taylor (London) Ltd Staff Pension Scheme

Geo Underwriting Services

Mentholatum Company Ltd Pension and Assurance Scheme

Mizuho International

Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining

Harman International Industries Pension Scheme

Shoosmiths LLP

Split across three offices in Milton Keynes, the Thames Valley and Solent, Shoosmiths LLP‘s sizeable pension team provides comprehensive support on high-value and often complex matters to clients across the South East and beyond. The team’s experience is broad and it handles the full range of issues from day-to-day advice and long-term strategies to complex mergers, scheme changes, and buy-outs and buy-ins. The team has also seen an uptick in GMP equalisation work and issues arising from automatic enrolment. Milton Keynes-based Heather Chandler oversees the firm’s corporate pensions practice, while Tracey Hemingway works for clients including global agricultural and commodities companies from the Solent office, and Suzanne Burrell acts for trustees and employers from her base in the Thames Valley.

Practice head(s):

Heather Chandler; Suzanne Burrell; Tracey Hemingway

Testimonials

‘The team not only provides excellent legal advice, but they also understand the commercial reality and business needs to enable them to provide pragmatic solutions. They are very responsive and a friendly legal team, who are easy to work with and have supported us with overcoming some difficult and complex issues to achieve great results.’

‘Knowledgeable and efficient.’

‘Shoosmiths have provided legal services to us for over 20 years. During this time we have never had cause for complaint. All advice provided, verbally and written, has always been given in a format that has been understandable to us, with any queries being fully explained. All services have been completed diligently, efficiently and in a totally satisfactory manner.’

‘Heather Chandler is excellent with a warm cheerful manner. Speedy helpful responses, always focused on what is important for Trustees.’

‘Heather Chandler is an extremely competent, experienced, confident and knowledgeable lawyer, who, in our opinion, is an expert on pension law. She has a very patient and pleasant personality and she always ensures that we are understanding and comfortable with her advice.’

‘Tracey Hemingway is excellent and has recently provided detailed advice and support in respect of a complex M&A transaction. Tracey is very commercial and pragmatic and can explain and provide advice on complex issues in a simple and clear manner. Tracey is responsive and has worked to support us with very tight timelines.’

‘Tracey Hemingway was able to make a difficult subject for us seem simple and was first class in all our dealings.’

‘Exceptional knowledge of the Pension law and regulations set by TPR. I mainly deal with Suzanne Burrell and the consistency makes for better working practice.’

Key clients

Trustees of Inmarsat Pension Plan

Trustees of the Electrium Pension Scheme

Trustees of Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics UK Pension & Life Assurance Scheme

Trustees of AAF-McQuay UK Pension Plan

Trustees of Valspar UK Pension Plan

Trustees of the BALPA 1973 Pension Scheme

FremantleMedia Group Limited

Trustees of the RNIB Retirement Benefits Plan

Hewlett Packard

Trustees of the Diversey Pension Scheme

Central England Co-operative Society

Cargill PLC

Trustees of the Cargill Pension Plan

Trustees of the CIBC Retirement Savings Plan

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

Archer Daniels Midland (UK) Limited

Deutz AG (Trustees)

Panavision (Trustees)

United States Air Force (Trustees)

Partnering Health Limited

FC Douch and Son

C&C

Work highlights

  • Advised Cargill on its acquisition of Croda’s performance technologies and industrial chemicals business.
  • Advised Inmarsat Trustee Company Limited on the transfer of money purchase scheme section to a master trust.
  • Advised Central England Co-operative Society on a major liability management project and GMP equalisation.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

As part of the firm’s wider pensions team, Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’s pensions offering is headed up in the South East by Guildford-based legal director Esther White. Michael Jones leads the national pensions team and Nick Hurley heads up the employment, pensions and immigration (EPI) group. The team works alongside colleagues across the firm and in other departments such as commercial litigation to advise a broad variety of clients, with particular strengths in the IT, media and telecoms sector. White specialises in issues arising from M&As, restructurings and automatic enrolments, while Andy Williams advises on the employment law implications of restructuring and benefit change schemes. Experienced litigator Duncan Elson is active in the team’s contentious offering.

Practice head(s):

Esther White; Nick Hurley; Michael Jones

Other key lawyers:

Duncan Elson; Andy Williams

Testimonials

‘Good specialist knowledge and a good number of subject matter experts.’

‘Esther White and Michael Jones. Knowledgeable, personable and ability to “simplify” complex legal matters to the untrained.’

‘Prompt and courteous response at all times.’

‘Michael Jones and Esther White are diligent and attentive to the needs of the trustees.’

Key clients

Ericsson

Smith & Williamson Trustees Ltd

Sotheby’s

SS&C UK Ltd

Civica Group

City & Guilds

Goodwin Procter

NCR

Westminster Abbey

Work highlights

  • Advised the pension scheme trustees for a charity in the health sector in relation to the transfer of the assets and liabilities to a master trust and the winding up of the scheme.
  • Advised a multinational retailer in relation to the buy out and winding up of its hybrid occupational pension scheme.
  • Advising trustees from a tech multinational on their duties and obligations in relation to early retirement and ill health early retirement.