Pensions in South East

BDB Pitmans

BDB Pitmans has amassed considerable experience in handling buy-in transactions, GMP conversions and equalisation projects. In addition, it is well-known for assisting clients with non-cash funding arrangements, and guiding sponsors and trustees through scheme changes and debt issues. David Hosford's vast portfolio of work includes advising clients on consolidating trust deeds, funding shortfalls, contingent asset issues and general liability management work. In 2020, legal director Alex Rush and senior associates Sarah Millar  and Catriona Darnell joined the firm from Stephenson Harwood, Arc Pensions Law and Norton Rose Fulbright, respectively.

Practice head(s):

David Hosford

Other key lawyers:

Alex Rush; Sarah Millar; Catriona Darnell


‘I have always been impressed by every individual that I have dealt with. In my opinion that says a lot about BDB Pitmans’ recruitment, training and retention of staff.’ 

‘David Hosford is an excellent pensions lawyer with a broad knowledge and good attention to detail.’ 

‘I have worked with David Hosford for over ten years. His high quality legal advice and commercial awareness always adds value.’

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

Swedish Match UK Pension Fund

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

Work highlights

  • Advised Chas A Blatchford & Sons in relation to a GMP reconciliation and equalisation project as part of securing benefits with an insurer.
  • Advising the trustees of Belfast Harbour Commissioners’ Pension Scheme on proposals from the scheme employer to manage risk including PIE and closure to accrual.
  • Advised Bridport Pension Plan on the feasibility of stripping the DC benefits out of the scheme and how to do this.

Shoosmiths LLP

Shoosmiths LLP‘s ‘collaborative and proactive team’ has a comprehensive pensions practice, known for handling GMP equalisations, buy-outs and buy-ins, scheme amendments, funding management issues, scheme mergers and various other related matters for clients across numerous sectors. Tracey Hemingway stands out for her role in numerous prominent pensions projects, including major GMP equalisation arrangements. ‘Excellent’ practice head Heather Chandler is active across the pensions sector, advising individuals and companies in relation to small and large schemes. Suzanne Burrell advises employers and trustees on various matters, including the pension aspects of M&A transactions and pension scheme closures.

Practice head(s):

Heather Chandler

Other key lawyers:

Suzanne Burrell; Tracey Hemingway


‘The team led by Heather Chandler is very knowledgeable, efficient and always comes up with practical solutions.’

‘Heather Chandler is respected for her knowledge and experience in the field of pensions law; she also has a very pleasant personality and the ability to communicate with the trustees in non-legal language in order to ensure that they fully understand all of their responsibilities.’

‘Tracey Hemingway takes a pragmatic approach, and doesn’t over complicate matters. She can find an appropriate route through an issue, and works collaboratively with the relevant parties. Her advice is clear, and she is very responsive. An integral part of the team.’

‘Suzanne Burrell has been at the forefront of delivering a host of queries and provided us with first class guidance and advice, working to some very tight deadlines.’

Key clients

Trustees of the RNIB Retirement Benefits Plan

Trustees of Inmarsat Pension Plan

Hewlett Packard

Trustees of the Electrium Pension Scheme

Trustees of the Diversey Pension Scheme

Trustees of Bloor Holdings Limited Retirement Benefits Scheme

Lincolnshire Co-operative Society

Trustees of AAF-McQuay UK Pension Plan

Trustees of Valspar UK Pension Plan

Trustees of the BALPA 1973 Pension Scheme

FremantleMedia Group Limited

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


Work highlights

  • Advising the trustees of Inmarsat Pension Plan on various matters, including the pension aspects of the takeover of the company and the buy-in of the defined benefit section of the hybrid scheme.
  • Advising the trustees of a major UK charity in relation to an employer request for suspension of employer contributions and various other related matters.
  • Advised Cargill on the closure of its defined benefit scheme to future accrual and the replacement future service benefits for members.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

With particular expertise in the IT, telecoms and media sectors, Charles Russell Speechlys LLP specialises in advising domestic and international companies in relation to the pensions aspects of scheme closures, TUPE transfers, restructuring arrangements and various other matters. Nick Hurley handles contentious and non-contentious work in the field, which includes advising clients on contractual pension issues and business transfers. Esther White is another standout practitioner, with over 15 years of experience assisting companies and trustees with pensions law requirements.

Practice head(s):

Nick Hurley

Other key lawyers:

Esther White

Key clients


Smith & Williamson Trustees Ltd



Civica Group

City & Guilds

Goodwin Procter


Westminster Abbey

Work highlights

  • Advised the pension scheme trustees for a charity in the health sector in relation to the transfer of the scheme to a master trust.
  • Advising an international auctioneer in relation to the buy-in of the defined benefit section of its hybrid pension scheme.
  • Advising a multinational technology company on scheme amendments to ensure its governing documentation remains up to date.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

With a wide range of clients in the private wealth, education, not for profit and public services sectors, Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP offers a well-rounded pensions offering, focusing primarily on transactional matters. Maria Riccio specialises in assisting clients with defined benefit schemes and contentious matters, while Clare Coley is noted for her expertise in defined contribution and auto-enrolment matters.

Practice head(s):

Maria Riccio

Other key lawyers:

Clare Coley

Stevens & Bolton LLP

Stevens & Bolton LLP advises selling shareholders, employers and trustees in relation to a range of pensions matters, including M&A involving pension schemes and defined benefit pension schemes. Gabrielle Holgate has recently handled numerous corporate restructuring processes involving pensions issues, supplementing her broader practice in the field. James Lister handles a high volume of pension scheme trust disputes.

Practice head(s):

Gabrielle Holgate

Other key lawyers:

James Lister

Key clients

Beretta (Fabbrica d’Armi Pietro Beretta S.p.A.)

ICP Nurseries

Slater and Gordon

Lagoon Trading Company Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising ICP Nurseries on numerous acquisitions involving pensions due diligence and legal input on the drafting of transaction documents.
  • Advising Slater and Gordon on its acquisition of the business and assets of personal injury specialists Jigsaw Law, from medico-legal and insurance services giant Examworks, which involves assisting the client with disclosure matters and pension warranty negotiations.
  • Advising Lagoon Trading Company on its sale to University Games UK Limited, involving assistance in relation to disclosure matters and pension warranty negotiations.

Blake Morgan LLP

Blake Morgan LLP assists employers and trustees with schemes of various sizes. Ron Burgess  specialises in handling major transactions and pension scheme restructuring projects, while Rupert Graham-Evans handles benefit changes, mergers and security arrangements.

Practice head(s):

Ron Burgess

Other key lawyers:

Rupert Graham-Evans