Hall Of Fame

Firms To Watch: Pensions

Lynette Lewis  plays a key role at Shoosmiths LLP and regularly acts for trustees and employers. Lewis is well-regarded for her pensions transactional experience.

Pensions in West Midlands

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

The agile and large team at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP advises the trustees of many household name clients on their pension schemes as well as many key employers on their pension obligations. Emma King  leads the first-rate department. Gary Delderfield  heads the national public sector pensions offering. Sarah Franklin  is vastly experienced in advising trustees and scheme sponsors on all aspects of their occupational pension schemes. Principal associate, Tom Meyrick, has particular expertise in acting on both DB and DC schemes. Also, at principal associate level, James Ellis  has significant experience in advising trustees and employers on a wide range of issues including liability management exercises and on corporate transactions.

Practice head(s):

Emma King

Other key lawyers:

Gary Delderfield; Sarah Franklin; Tom Meyrick; James Ellis

Key clients

Wales & West Utilities Pension Scheme Trustee

Coventry Building Society Pension Scheme Trustee

Birmingham Airport Pension Scheme Trustee

University of Manchester

Siemens plc

The Tenneco Automotive (UK) Pension Scheme and Walker Group Executive Retirement Benefit Scheme Trustees

Trustees of the Baptist Pension Scheme

Ultra Electronics Pension Scheme

Clara Pension Trust

Various Local Government Pension Scheme administering authorities

Gowling WLG

The 'brilliant' Elizabeth Gane  is at the helm at Gowling WLG  and is well-regarded for her work on complex funding issues, mergers and restructurings and benefit change. It has a stellar reputation for its work on diverse issues from advising on major and very large schemes to risk transfers and pensions disputes. Richard Black advises the trustees of some of the largest schemes in the UK. Paul Carberry  is a known name for his work with a broad mix of trustees and employers. Christopher Stiles  is skilled at advising both employers and trustees. Joanne Tibbott  is highly regarded for her work with both trustee and employer clients. Richard Lee  is another leading member of the practice.

Practice head(s):

Elizabeth Gane

Other key lawyers:

Richard Black; Paul Carbery;  Richard Lee; Christopher Stiles; Joanne Tibbott; Ben Goldby; Alison Garton


‘Proactive and approachable, and very responsive. Very good at keeping us informed on progress and work quickly. Have adopted our preferred budgeting and billing processes and willing to adopt innovative fee structures’.

‘Richard Black. Very down to earth and gives unequivocal advice. Good at responding to questions in meetings without preparation, and excellent communication style’.

‘Ben Goldby. Excellent communicator and really good at keeping client informed on progress. Very responsive to requests’.

‘With the Gowling Pensions Team, you know you are in very capable hands’.

‘Chris Stiles knows the subject inside out. Consequently he can summarise any pension issue into its key elements and provide concise understandable and highly practical advice…. just what you want as a trustee chair’. 

‘Broad knowledge of pensions issues and solutions adopted by clients. Helpful and practical advice provided’.

‘Joanne Tibbott is a principal contact, supported by Alison Garton. Authoritative advice provided, good commercial approach taken, helpful training on new regulatory developments’.


Key clients

The Admenta Pension Scheme

The Trustees of the Mitchells & Butlers Pension Plan

Trustees of Fortune 500 sponsored scheme

Work highlights

  • Advised the trustee of the multi-million pound Mitchells & Butler Executive Pension Plan on the full buy-out of all benefits in the Plan with Legal & General, a major transaction with major London firms, Clifford Chance and Macfarlanes, advising the other parties.
  • Advising a major scheme of a Fortune 500 US corporate – advising on a £1.2bn longevity swap to hedge longevity risk with Partner Re.
  • Providing advice to The Admenta Pension Scheme on all pensions related matters.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP has an impressive portfolio of large and complex defined benefit scheme clients as well as a successful track record of advising on large and high-value projects. It advises on numerous schemes that exceed £1bn both on the employer and the trustee side for many household names. Simon Laight  leads on the advice to a sizeable portfolio of insurers and product providers on issues surrounding key retirement solutions. Nick Stones has an established reputation for his work on complex project work and has a number of public service focused clients. Katie Ivens has a keen interest on the trust side of the practice. Daniel Shelley is now a consultant.

Practice head(s):

Simon Laight; Stephen Scholefield

Other key lawyers:

Nick Stones; Katie Ivens; Daniel Shelley


‘Great understanding of our business and an ability to deliver concise advice that is tailored to our specific needs’.

‘Simon Laight is excellent, understands our business well and is proactive and holistic in his approach’.

‘They are very commercial. Explain things clearly so we can involve the stakeholders in a meeting without worrying about too much jargon. Always efficient’.

Key clients

Babcock International Group Pension Scheme

Michelin Pension & Life Assurance Plan

Serco Plc

Fujitsu Group

Barratt Developments Plc

[Trustee] GKN Pension Schemes

[Trustee] Cadbury Mondelez Pension Fund

Glanbia Group



Work highlights

  • Acting as the sole advisers to the Trustee of the Michelin Pension Plan which has over £1bn in assets under a complex hybrid benefit structure.
  • Advised the SEI Trustee on the merger of the SEI and Atlas Master Trusts, following the acquisition of the Atlas Master Trust by SEI in 2021.
  • Acting for over half the authorised master trusts in the market – it has worked alongside providers on complex proposition development strategies.

Squire Patton Boggs

Squire Patton Boggs fields a 'pragmatic and stable' team that is led by Matthew Giles . The large practice has a solid market reputation for its work in regulated utilities (especially water, nuclear and electricity sponsored schemes). Another key area of focus is in local government pension schemes and the not-for-profit sector. Philip Sutton  has an excellent reputation for his transactional and insolvency related work. Victoria Jeacock has a wealth of experience in UK occupational pension schemes, private pension plans and public sector schemes. Kate-Emma Bailey is the relationship partner for numerous high-profile trustee clients. Glyn Ryland has retired.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Giles

Other key lawyers:

Philip Sutton; Victoria Jeacock; Kate-Emma Bailey; Alexandra Heggie


‘It’s a pleasure working with the pension team at Squire Patton Boggs. They are always able to satisfy our requirements. They are as comfortable dealing with large complex issues as they are the small & relatively incidental ones’.

‘We’ve recently been faced with a complex legal matter and the need to complete matters according to very tight deadlines. The team worked whenever necessary to ensure the deadlines were met, and at all times delivered a very confident and competent performance’.

‘Matthew Giles – Partner. Always very clear and has an excellent understanding of our situation and history. Alexandra Heggie – Senior Associate. She is able to provide sound back up to Matthew‘.

‘The SPB team is one of the strongest in the Midlands market. The lawyers are extremely impressive. They have worked hard on social media and communications and provide excellent content to clients and the wider market. The firm has immense expertise in pensions law’.

‘The firm provides a complete pensions service as well as pensions training. Its collaborative style leads to a seamless service delivery. I truly believe that we receive a quality of advice comparable with any of the big London firms, at a considerably lower cost’.

‘The team is knowledgeable and led by an experienced partner. Matthew Giles – his knowledge of both our scheme and the wider pensions legislation and practical application has been incredibly helpful. He is also commercial and puts forward pragmatic solutions to complex situations’.

‘The team support your decisions with the provision of practical advice, highlighting potential risks and opportunities in a business language that is easier to understand. They really go above and beyond and frequently exceed my expectations rather than delivering the minimum’.

‘Matthew Giles is very calm and considered- good to have at your side in a crisis. Phil is a very strong performer on challenging cases and Victoria Jeacock has a great “bedside “ manner. Overall a very strong team’.

Key clients

Essentra Pension Plan

Cooper Tire & Rubber Company Europe Limited

DSV UK Group Pension Scheme

Sandvik Pension Plan 2001

Brush Group 2013 Pension Scheme

Omya UK Pension Scheme

Dollond & Aitchison Pension & Life Assurance Scheme

Birmingham University Pension and Assurance Scheme

Greencore UK Defined Benefits Scheme

Wyevale Garden Centres Limited 1993 Group Pension and Life Assurance Scheme

Bakkavor Pension Scheme

GXO Logistics Pension Scheme

IMS (UK) Pension Plan

W Grose Limited Limited Pension Scheme

Cambridgeshire County Council as administering authority to the Cambridgeshire Pension Fund / West Northamptonshire Council as administering authority to the Northamptonshire Pension Fund

Work highlights

  • Advised Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company on pension integration following its $2.8bn acquisition of Cooper Tire & Rubber Company Europe Limited.
  • Advised the trustee of the Birmingham University Pension and Assurance Scheme on a fundamental review of its governance arrangements.
  • Advised Ryder Pension Fund Limited on addressing the pension impact of the cessation of trading in the UK of its scheme sponsor.

Gateley Legal

Gateley Legal is led by Michael Collins who has a vast array of experience in all aspects of pensions matters. The group regularly advises trustees and employers on their duties and liabilities. In addition, it continues to be busy supporting companies on a vast array of pension matters as they arise during corporate transactions. The team is recommended for its advice on DB schemes with substantial assets, on occupational pension schemes, contract-based schemes as well as on SSASs and SIPPS.

Practice head(s):

Michael Collins

Other key lawyers:

Tom Allen


Michael Collins worked extremely efficiently to deliver the required advice in a tight timescale’.

‘For me the flexibility regarding any request and the readiness to respond positively to this request. Always very professional and gives you the confidence they have understood the request made’.

‘I find the responses quick and thorough. An understanding of a request is grasped quickly and diligently. I also find working with them an enjoyable experience and not a chore which it can be with other pensions professionals’.

‘The pensions team at Gateley is extremely easy to talk to. Advice is provided in a language which is understandable by a lay person and pragmatic and practical solutions are provided where possible’.

‘Gateley offers comprehensive, pragmatic and clear advice at a cost effective rate. Billing is transparent. The team provides an expected timescale for work and communicates if this timescale needs adjusting. They are reliable’. 

‘The team offers valuable insight when in meetings and are up to speed with all the changes to legislation and guidance. These attributes make Gateley particularly valuable to a small pension scheme’.

‘Michael Collins and Tom Allen  provide clear and pragmatic advice and if there are any queries are very happy to work through these and explain difficult areas of legislation’.

‘They ensure they have an understanding of the Scheme and what is required before commencing the work, suggesting alternative approaches if applicable’.

Key clients

A.S Watson (Health & Beauty UK) Pension Plan (Superdrug)

Macmillan Pension Plan

Hill & Smith 2016 Pension Scheme

Charles River Pension Plan

NCL Investments Limited Pension Scheme (Tilney Smith & Williamson)

Britax Childcare Limited Pension Schemes

Phoenix Medical Supplies Pension Scheme

Sumitomo Electric Wiring Systems (Europe) Pension Scheme

Dunlop Slazenger Pension Scheme

Rexel UK Pension Scheme

USDAW Staff Superannuation Fund

Habib Bank Pension and Life Assurance Scheme

Hortons’ Estate Limited 1978 Retirement Benefits Plan

Trustees of the Johnson & Starley Pension Scheme

Franks Roberts & Sons Limited

Robert McBride Pension Fund

American Optical UK Pension Scheme

Timpson Group Pension Scheme

Heraeus Electro-Nite UK Limited Retirement Benefits Scheme

CH Johnson Pension Plan

Mills & Reeve LLP

Head of department at Mills & Reeve LLP is Clare Grice , who is experienced in public sector pensions schemes (particularly LGPS and TPS). Her sector expertise spans charities and not-for-profit, health and education. Senior associate, Sarah Gosling, has significant experience in advising on pension scheme buy-outs and on GMP equalisation projects.

Practice head(s):

Clare Grice

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Gosling


‘Clare Grice – very prompt response and pragmatic solutions, at a reasonable cost’.

‘Mills & Reeve have provided a fast, informative and accurate service to the issues we as Trustees have had to deal with’.

‘Clare Grice is extremely competent and also very easy to work with. Any queries are normally dealt with in a matter of hours. Despite my lack of knowledge in a number of areas, communication has been outstanding’.

‘In my experience the key to Mills & Reeve’s success is their speed of response and ability to provide a well thought out and understandable response. Their teams work together closely and there is never any difficulty in obtaining advice/support, even if the lead individual is not available’.

‘The key attributes of the Mills & Reeve individuals I have worked with has been their speed of response, availability and clear thinking. This has been particularly true with Clare Grice, partner, and Sarah Gosling, senior associate’.


Key clients

Trustees of the Volvo Group UK Retirement Plan

Trustees of the Sakata UK Retirement Benefits Scheme

Trustees of the Mann+Hummel (UK) limited Retirement Benefits Scheme

Trustees of the NTN Bearings UK Limited Pension Scheme

Trustees of the Churchill Group Retirement Benefits Scheme

Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce

Royal Society of Chemistry

The Trustees of the Benenden Healthcare Pension Plan

Fitzwilliam College Assistant Staff Superannuation Fund

Trustee of the Cambridge Colleges Federated Pension Scheme