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Pensions in South East

BDB Pitmans

The 'prompt and efficient' team at BDB Pitmans advises trustees on a range of issues including Guaranteed Minimum Pension equalisation, assistance with member complaints (including Ombudsman proceedings) and the corporate restructuring of the sponsoring employer. A recent focus has been working with a number of independent schools in relation to the increasing cost of participating in the Teachers’ Pension Scheme. Practice head David Hosford has 'vast knowledge in his field' and advises on all non-contentious pensions issues, predominantly for scheme trustees.  

Practice head(s):

David Hosford


They are very “user friendly” and keep everything simple (where possible). I cannot think of any weaknesses.

Got the job done, no procrastination.’


Key clients

Continental Group Pension & Life Assurance Scheme

Danfoss Power Solutions Pension Plan

The Solicitors’ Law Stationery Society Limited Pension Scheme

Stable Employees Pension Plan

Stonegate Farmers (1972) Pension & Life Assurance Scheme

Standard Group (UK) Pension Scheme

Dantec Pension Scheme

Jockey Club Racecourses Pension Scheme

Stoves Executive Pension Scheme

Mitsui UK Retirement Benefits Plan

Rehau Limited Retirement Benefits Scheme

Belfast Harbour Commissioners’ Pension Scheme

ACM Staff Pension Scheme

Chas A Blatchford & Sons Limited Group Pension Scheme

Jacob Beatus Ltd Pension & Life Assurance Scheme

Denley King Partnership (1988) Retirement Benefits Scheme

Thames Valley Eggs Ltd Pension Fund

Swedish Match UK Pension Fund

Bruf Contract Holdings Limited Pension and Life Assurance Fund (1972)

Work highlights

  • Advised Stonegate Farmers on a contingent asset package.
  • Advised Standard Group UK Pension Scheme on a revised and entirely bespoke support package regarding the funding of the scheme.
  • Advised Dantec Dynamics Limited Pension Scheme on a review of the scheme’s benefit specification.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP's 'pleasant, approachable, informative and friendly' team provides full transactional support to clients from the private wealth, not for profit, public services and education sectors. The firm also handles work for individuals, principally involving pension disputes with their schemes or employers. Maria Riccio  leads the team and is 'knowledgeable and approachable' in advising on defined benefit schemes and contentious pension-related work. Clare Coley specialises in defined contribution and auto-enrolment issues, while Verity Cruse works on documentation  for Pension Protection Fund guarantees and buy ins.

Practice head(s):

Maria Riccio

Other key lawyers:

Clare Coley; Verity Cruse


Penningtons are very attentive and give good, concise advice in a timely manner.’

Maria Riccio has provided us with solid, sound advice over the years and she is our “go to” person for advice on all matters.’

They seamlessly achieve and maintain the balance between friendly, informal interaction with us as clients and adhering to the strict, professional and unwavering attention to detail in application and interpretation of the points of law.’

We followed Maria Riccio from her previous firm. Verity Cruse is also knowledgeable and approachable.’

The team are always very professional and have time to explain areas that we are not sure of at the time.’


Key clients

Stafford Grammar School

Trustees of the Hoburne Pension Scheme

Bespoke Pension Trustees

The Police Federation

Trustees of the ELIM Pension Fund

Trustees of the Progressive Media Markets Pension Scheme

Trustees of the Teachers Assurance Pension Scheme

London & Caledonian Trustees

Trustees of the Shaftsbury Estates

Retirement and Death Benefit Scheme

Trustees of the Hovertravel Widows & Widowers Pension and Life Assurance Scheme

Work highlights

  • Advised Stafford Grammar School on its ability to exit the Teachers’ Pension Scheme and in providing advice and assistance with the consultation.
  • Advised  regarding the status of various churches as statutory employers; sex equalisation and producing a new consolidation of the Scheme Rules
  • Advised the UK division of an international airline on UK Pension scheme membership and tax relief issues for employees living outside the UK whilst working under UK employment contracts.

Shoosmiths LLP

With three offices across the South East, Shoosmiths LLP advises on GMP equalisation, buy-outs and buy-ins, funding management, scheme mergers and asset backed funding arrangements. Manufacturing, financial services, not for profit and technology are sectors of particular specialism. Heather Chandler is 'extremely knowledgeable on all pension matters' and has a portfolio that covers pension assets in excess of a billion pounds. Tracey Hemingway leads the Solent Practice and acts for both trustee and employer clients on all aspects of pensions law. Suzanne Burrell and Kunjan Sembhi are also recommended.

Other key lawyers:

Kunjan Sembhi


Prompt and personal attention.’

Heather Chandler is always on hand to help, especially in challenging situations.’


Key clients

Trustee of the One Ecolab Pension Plan

Trustee of the RNIB Retirement Benefits Scheme

Trustees of the Inmarsat Pension Plan

Trustees of the Sompo Pension Scheme

Trustees of the Electrium Pension Scheme

Hewlett Packard Limited

Trustees of Valspar (UK) Pension Plan

Trustees of Hafele UK

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

EWOS (Trustees)

Work highlights

  • Advised Cargill PLC on major changes to its pension scheme for employees.
  • Advised the trustee of a sectionalised multi-employer hybrid scheme on a number of complex matters
  • Advised the trustees of  a company in the aerospace and automotive sector on the management of its company pension scheme.

Blake Morgan LLP

Blake Morgan LLP's advisory practice services both employers and trustees on schemes of various sizes. On the disputes side, recent work includes professional negligence claims through errors in scheme documentation and Local Government Pension Scheme issues. Ron Burgess splits his time across multiple UK offices and has provided advice on various high-profile transactions and pension scheme restructuring projects. Rupert Graham-Evans advises on legal compliance, benefit changes , mergers and security arrangements. Former practice head John Hamilton  departed the firm in 2020 to take up a role at the Government Legal Service.


‘The pensions team is able to provide high-quality advice to larger schemes as well as smaller ones.’

‘Ron Burgess not only has excellent pensions experience and legal knowledge but he is great at explaining difficult issues simply rather than simply explaining.’

Rupert Graham-Evans has always been extremely helpful and attentive.’

Key clients

Oyster Marine

Amey PLC

Syfer Technology Pension Plan

Arthur J Gallaghers (and their clients)


Dick Lovett

Olivetti Spa

Mizuho Bank Pension Scheme

British Tourist Authority (VisitBritain)

Harlan Pensions Scheme

Work highlights

  • Advising the British Tourist Authority on a closure project which started in 2016 and concluded in April 2020.
  • Advised on infrastructure projects involving public sector pension issues, often involving the LGPS.
  • Advised AJ Gallaghers and other group life brokers on their group life assurance trusts.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP provides transactional support to major global and UK based corporates, privately owned companies, not for profit businesses and their pension scheme trustees. Esther White is the key practitioner in the South East; she is a specialist in advising on pension issues arising from corporate restructurings, mergers and acquisitions and auto-enrolment. Nick Hurley leads the employment, pensions and immigration group across the firm, and practices in contentious and non-contentious matters.

Practice head(s):

Nick Hurley

Other key lawyers:

Esther White

Key clients


Smith & Williamson Trustees Ltd



Civica Group

City & Guilds

Goodwin Procter


Westminster Abbey

Stevens & Bolton LLP

Stevens & Bolton LLP offers transactional support to potential commercial buyers on the acquisition of pensions duties and legacy pension schemes, as well as advising both employers and trustees on defined benefit pension schemes. Gabrielle Holgate is an 'efficient and proactive legal professional' and leads the team. She has recently expanded her practice to include assisting other law firms with support on corporate transactions. James Lister has substantial experience in advising pension scheme trustees and employers regarding their position in contentious matters.

Practice head(s):

Gabrielle Holgate

Other key lawyers:

James Lister


Gabrielle Holgate from Stevens & Bolton has proved to be a great asset to our business in relation to the various local government pension schemes we have inherited. She has always given clear and considered advice based on the wider context of our business.’

Key clients

The Trustees of the Buchanan & Curwen Pension Scheme

Diebold Nixdorf Limited

Bakkavor Group

Stackhouse Poland Group Limited

ICP Nurseries

BBS Consultants & Actuaries Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the trustees of the Buchanan & Curwen Pension Scheme on various scheme-related matters.
  • Advised the project team of a large FTSE 100 company on the potential acquisition of a target group.
  • Advised on the pensions aspects of various transactions managed by this highly successful boutique M&A firm