Pensions in South East

Blake Morgan LLP

Blake Morgan LLP advises trustees and employers on various pension schemes such as defined contribution scheme work, auto-enrollment and life assurance work. The practice also regularly provides technical support to specialist pension providers of SSAS and SIPP products and pensions tax issues (including international tax). Practice head John Hamilton and life assurance schemes specialist Rupert Graham-Evans also advise on pension issues in the public, charitable and social housing sectors.

Practice head(s):

John Hamilton

Other key lawyers:

Rupert Graham-Evans


The team are responsive, approachable, pro-active and very personable.

John Hamilton has been invaluable to my business – he is very responsive, approachable and very thorough.

I rate John Hamilton as the best I have dealt with. He combines good technical input with a clear understanding of where we lay trustees are starting from.’

Blake Morgan stands out head and shoulders in front of others.

Key clients

Arthur J. Gallaghers

Work highlights

  • Continues to advise this  key client on documentation issues involving their clients’ group life arrangements. Recent clients include Addaction, Diabetes UK, among others.
  • Advising trustees in relation to benefit issues including equalisation of retirement ages for male and female members and also restrictions in the scheme amendment power requiring salary linkage, and most recently GMP equalisation.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP has a strong reputation as one of 'the most pre-eminent pension practices in the South East'. Led by Maria Riccio, the practice works across all sectors with an emphasis on charities, insurance and private wealth. It provides transnational support and training, as well as handling contentious matters such as pensions fraud. The firm also advises private clients in pension disputes with their schemes or employers, in particular involving the operation of Small Self-Administered Schemes, Self Invested Personal Pensions and the payment of death benefits. Clare Coley and Verity Cruse are also of note.

Practice head(s):

Maria Riccio

Other key lawyers:

Clare Coley; Verity Cruse


Maria Riccio combines expertise and clarity of thought in her subject with the ability to explain to those that do not know or understand pensions what the issues are. She has good ideas about how to overcome problems and does not sit on the fence – she gives advice. Maria is clear in her analysis of the risks which is a big help with our decision making.

Maria Riccio is fantastic- she really understands the issues and puts the client at the heart of what she is doing. Her advice is always pragmatic. If there is a pensions issue she is always the first choice.’

Maria Riccio is one of the few pension lawyers with in depth experience in advising trustees and employers.

Key clients

Trustees of the Hovertravel Pension and Assurance Scheme

London & Caledonian Trustees

Trustees of the Teachers Assurance Group Pension Scheme

Trustees of the Imtech and Infra Traffic Pension Scheme

Work highlights

  • Appointed to be sole legal advisers to the ELIM trustees.
  • Following a large transfer under TUPE, the practice advised on historical DB pension rights which are deemed to have transferred under contract, specifically relating to redundancy. The advice relates to how those rights can be compensated in the event of redundancy.
  • Assisted with drafting a number of scheme documents as well as dealing with a number of scheme policies for the purpose of GDPR.

Shoosmiths LLP

The 'extremely responsive' team at Shoosmiths LLP have 'technical expertise across the whole pensions sector'. The firm demonstrates 'excellent capabilities' in GMP Equalisation, pensions flexibilities and implications for schemes, buy-outs and buy-ins, scheme amendments, automatic enrollment, among others.  The multi-locational practice is active across a broad range of industries, counting charities, manufacturing, financial services, media and technology corporations among its impressive client roster.  Heather Chandler, Kunjan Sembhi , Suzanne Burrell and Tracey Hemingway are the key partners in Milton Keynes, Thames Valley and Solent offices, respectively.

Practice head(s):

Heather Chandler, Suzanne Burrell; Tracey Hemingway

Other key lawyers:

Kunjan Sembhi


‘A responsive team with practical advice on pensions law and how trustees should react to individual case circumstances as well as industry-wide matters.’

Heather Chandler is highly recommended. She is always on hand to help and answer difficult and technical queries, and is able to communicate the issues clearly in a way a client can easily grasp.

Tracey Hemingway is an ever-approachable source of knowledge and perspective on the complications of pension law, in equal turns legally exact and yet commercially pragmatic.’

Key clients

Trustees of the Inmarsat Pension Plan

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

Trustees of the Electrium Pension Scheme

Archer Daniels Midland (UK) Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for an employer in relation to a final salary scheme.
  • Advised the trustees on the take over advice under the mergers code specific to pensions  and advising on administration of this hybrid scheme in terms of future restructures.
  • Ongoing pension advice in relation to GDPR compliance, bulk transfers to Master Trust arrangements,  life assurance arrangements and member disputes relating to pensions issues.

BDB Pitmans

BDB Pitmans demonstrates strong capabilities in relation to benefit restructuring, in addition to niche expertise in SIPPs, SSASs and other executive arrangements, including QROPS. Lead partner David Hosford is also experienced in drafting master trusts, both for group life (and excepted life) cover and defined contribution schemes.

Practice head(s):

David Hosford

Key clients

Chas A Blatchford & Sons Limited Group Pension Scheme

Applied Industrial Materials UK Limited Retirement & Death Benefit Plan

Swedish Match UK Pension Fund

Robert Dyas Limited Pension & Life Assurance Scheme

Banco Santander Totta Staff Security Plan

Work highlights

  • Advising the trustees regarding the implications of the sale of the sponsoring employer.
  • Reviewing investment management agreements in relation to intended investment in alternative asset classes.
  • Advice to scheme trustees regarding closure of the scheme to future benefit accrual.

Stevens & Bolton LLP

Stevens & Bolton LLP advises a mix of start-up businesses and large international corporates as well as trustees of occupational trust-based schemes.  Gabrielle Holgate leads the practice from the Guildford office and assists employers with governance, benefitS changes, litigation, Pension Protection Fund-related issues and pensions aspects of corporate transactions.

Practice head(s):

Gabrielle Holgate

Key clients

Greenclose Hotels Limited

Diebold Nixdorf

Work highlights

  • Advised trustees in relation to a buy-in of all scheme benefits with a major insurance firm followed by a buy-out. The buy-in was completed as the first stage of the planned solvent winding up of the scheme.
  • Advised A client on issues arising from the participation of one of the holding company’s subsidiaries in an industry-wide pension scheme.
  • Advised A client on the pensions position of various subsidiaries in light of plans for a major corporate restructuring.