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Pensions in Yorkshire And The Humber

Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard’s pensions offering comprises high-profile experts including Rachel Rawnsley, Jade Murray and Rachel Uttley, who co-lead the team. Corporate clients and trusts engage the team on liability transfers, scheme closures, and governance structures.

Testimonials

‘Fantastic depth of experience combined with pragmatic advice’

‘Dealt with Leeds team – very open and friendly office, close knit team, strong links to clients, hard-working and upbeat.’

‘More welcoming and down-to-earth than most pension legal teams.’

‘Jade Murray and Rachel Uttley. Huge commitment to clients, working often well outside working hours when projects peak.’

‘Jade is very firm in negotiations, against larger numbers of legal partners from top tier firm, not intimidated.’

‘They both display deep pensions knowledge, a very close working relationship with their client, a lot of flexibility over changing work priorities.’

‘The team has significant strength in depth, and coordinates seamlessly’

‘Rachel Rawnsley consistently delivers thorough yet practical advice. She helps create and momentum through stepping back and identifying which other advisers could benefit from a steer.’

‘Fast to respond and extremely knowledgeable and efficient’

‘Rachel Rawnsley – highly responsive, clear advice presenting a firm line but coupled with a pragmatic approach.’

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Clients of Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s Leeds pensions practice benefit from the broad talents of co-heads Richard Shelton and Anthea Whitton. The team advises on major pension schemes for clients in the defence, telecoms, higher education and financial services sectors, handling bulk transfers, asset-backed funding arrangements, GMP equalisation, scheme mergers, wind-ups and corporate due diligence. Whitton is retained by £1bn-plus master trusts for the full scope of administrative, regulatory and strategic investment advice; associate Gemma Hanley is another key member of the team, with extensive expertise in buyouts, corporate restructurings and funding strategy for clients in the utilities sector.

Practice head(s):

Richard Shelton; Anthea Whitton

Other key lawyers:

Gemma Hanley; Andy Wright

Testimonials

‘The team work well together – they are professional and approachable.’

‘Richard Shelton and Anthea Whitton are a good team. – they bring a broad experience to situations.’

Excellent advice, delivered swiftly and pragmatically.’

‘We have been consistently impressed with the advice we have received from Eversheds Sutherland. The individuals we have dealt with have consistently provided excellent service. They have provided innovative solutions to complex scenarios, and have communicated the issue and solution clearly. They have a wide range of expertise and have always been able to find a specialist who can provide the required input into an issue. They adopt a pragmatic approach and in our experience get to the right answer more quickly than other advisers we have worked with.’

Richard Shelton is very capable.’

‘Andy Wright gives pragmatic advice with exceptional clarity and is quick to respond to queries.’

‘Anthea Whitton and Andy Wright provide excellent advice. Anthea’s advice is carefully considered, well thought-through, and presented in a calm professional manner, which inspires confidence and builds consensus. Anthea resolves issues quickly and pragmatically. Andy provides a highly professional service. His advice is clear and accurate.’

Key clients

Deloitte Pensions Master Trust

BT Hybrid Pension Scheme

The People’s Pension

Jardine Motors Group (trading as Lancaster)

Anglian Water Services Limited

Trustee of the RITCP Pension Scheme (formerly Rothschild Investment Trust Pension Scheme)

Trustee of the Short Brothers Pension Scheme (Bombardier)

Work highlights

  • Advising on the Deliotte Pensions Master Trust, created to allow third-party employers to transfer their defined benefit schemes’ assets and liabilities into a master plan.
  • Legal advisers to the new BT Hybrid Pension Scheme, providing a combination of defined benefit and defined contribution options.
  • Advising The People’s Pension — a defined contribution scheme with £7bn of assets — on all aspects of the plan, including advising on the process to obtain authorisation from the Pensions Regulator, facility agreements, charging structure and bulk transfers in to the scheme.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP’S pensions practice has a particularly impressive offering for defined benefits schemes, with practice head Jacqui Timmins advising on high-value buyouts, GMP equalisation and trustee liability provisions. Long-standing clients come from the manufacturing, financial services and retail sectors. Tom Barton leads the national defined contribution practice, advising sponsors and trustees of multibillion-pound schemes of the breadth of funding, investment regulatory and corporate due diligence matters. Katie Lodge is a noteworthy associate on this front. Commercial litigator Andrew Masterson leads on all contentious issues.

Practice head(s):

Jacqui Timmins

Testimonials

Very personable and responsive team with very strong technical knowledge.

Efficient deployment of resource across the team and high-quality lawyers at all levels.

Excellent advice and very pragmatic. Thorough understanding of their specialism means that you have comfort that the advice will work. Very thoughtful support with a clear understanding of the matters at hand.

Excellent service from Katie Hainsworth, Jacqui Timmins and all the support staff.

Tom Barton provides bold, practical advice which shows a deep appreciation of the range of factors our decision makers must take into account.

Sara Eggett and Katie Lodge have really got to know our product range and have shown a good eye for the material issues.

Jacqui Timmins is superb.

Key clients

Trustee of the Croda Pension Scheme

Trustee of the Henry Boot SPLA Scheme

Arran Isle

Trustees of the Bitmac Pension Scheme

TPT Retirement Solutions

The trustee of the Firth Rixson Retirement Benefit Plan

The trustees of the Hickson Group Pension Scheme

The trustees of the Vaillant Group Pension Scheme

Royal London

Royal Bank of Scotland Retirement Savings Plan

Work highlights

  • Advised the Trustee of the £1bn Croda Pension Scheme on its complex investment-management agreements.
  • Advised the trustees of the £700m Vaillant Group Pension Scheme on fiduciary management arrangements and complex funding arrangements.
  • Advised TPT Retirement Solutions on its successful master trust authorisation process with the Pensions Regulator.

Squire Patton Boggs

Headed by Elizabeth Graham and featuring the expert knowledge of Catherine McKenna, Squire Patton Boggs’ pensions practice is a trusted advisor to a suite of prestigious trustees in the public and private sectors across the UK. The team offers the full breadth of advice on governance and investment and funding strategies, and  is regularly instructed for high-value buyouts, wind-ups, reorganisations, scheme mergers and corporate due diligence. Director Jane Briggs focuses on providing advice to master trusts. The firm is particularly prominent in the highly regulated energy and utilities sectors, with recent client wins in the retail sector.

Practice head(s):

Elizabeth Graham

Other key lawyers:

Catherine McKenna; Jane Briggs

Testimonials

Jane Briggs has a high level of practical experience on day-to-day issues surrounding master trust documentation.

Key clients

Trustee of Kelda Group Pension Plan

Trustees of the Ashland UK Pension Fund

Trustee of the Northern Powergrid Group of the ESPS

ACCESS Pool of the Local Government Pension Scheme

Trustee of the Lucite International Pension Fund

Trustee of the CMP Batteries Pension Scheme

Trustee of the Fenner Pension Scheme

Trustee of the Scott Wilson Pension Scheme

Trustee of the Huntsman Pension Scheme

Trustees of the BW/IP International Limited Pension Plan

Work highlights

  • Advised the ACCESS Pool, which has combined assets of £46bn, on revisions to its Inter Authority Agreement, the founding document of the Pool. Also providing day-to-day advice in relation to governance and investment-related legal requirements.
  • Advising the trustee of the Lucite International Pension Fund on the restructuring of its defined contribution arrangements, which involved a transfer to a master trust.
  • Advised the trustee of the £1.8bn Kelda Group Pension Plan on the review and transfer of administrative services, involving new contractual terms and transition arrangements.

Arc Pensions Law

Arc Pensions Law is a premier national pensions boutique with a strong Leeds footprint. The team – which includes practice heads Vikki Massarano and Kate Payne – advises a long list of trustee clients on  the full scope of scheme governance issues, including defined benefit buyins, scheme consolidations and master trust transfers. Employers also engage to team on corporate due diligence, scheme closures and negotiations with trustees. The team is increasing its profile on the contentious side; Payne and director Max Ballad recently represented a beneficiary in a High Court claim concerning the pension increase rule.

Practice head(s):

Vikki Massarano; Kate Payne

Other key lawyers:

Max Ballad

Testimonials

They are immensely capable, take complex issues in their stride and give just the right amount of information for clients to make informed decisions without getting lost in complexity. They are great value and a pleasure to deal with.

Fantastically practical, highly skilled and a pleasure to work with.

The Arc team have been together for a long time and have acquired over the years a very strong in-depth knowledge of the UK pensions industry.

Kate Payne and Vikki Massarano stand out as being practical, knowledgeable and also fun. It’s important to be fun when working in pensions.

Vikki Massarano is stand out – makes the complex understandable and helps clients get to where they need to get to in a very direct and practical way.

Max Ballad is also very approachable and accessible, communicates clearly and has been a great help in turning around urgent jobs such as GMP equalisation issues with member options.

We work closely with Kate Payne and Max Ballad. We believe that their key strengths – on top of the strong industry knowledge – is their willingness to work flexibly and their proactive approach. They always seem to be on top of recent legislation and have a unique talent in how they communicate this to the trustee board, ensuring that the priorities are well highlighted.

Both Kate Payne and Max Ballad are exceptionally responsive and helpful and their knowledge and experience is of great assistance.

Key clients

Trustee of the BASF Pension Scheme

Trustee of the Stanley Black & Decker UK Pension Plan

Trustee of the Leeds Building Society Pension Scheme

Trustee of the Marshalls Pension Scheme

Trustees of two Baxenden Schemes

Trustees of two Firth Rixson pension schemes

Trustees of the Engineering Employers Federation Staff Pension Fund

Real Good Food plc

Swann-Morton Limited

Trustees of the Nursing & Midwifery Council Pension Scheme

Mishcon de Reya

Trustee of the Reliance Pension Scheme

Trustees of the Nottingham Building Society Pension Scheme

Trustee of the SIG plc Retirement Benefit Plan

The Medical Protection Society

TC Harrison

Trustees of the Wabco Pension Scheme

Trustees of the Moores Furniture Group Pension Scheme

Trustees of the Marubeni Bank UK Pension Scheme

Work highlights

  • Advising the trustee of a £400m defined benefit scheme on a liability buy-in exercise.
  • Advising a consortium of private equity investors on the implications for a large defined benefit scheme following the client’s acquisition of a publicly listed company.
  • Advising the representative beneficiary of the Britvic Pension Plan on a High Court application relating to the pension increase rule.

DLA Piper

The pensions team in DLA Piper's Leeds office offers strong support on major transactional matters, including plan mergers on large-cap multijurisdictional M&A. A strong roster of trustees engages the practice for advice on GMP equalisation, buyins and buyouts, scheme documentation drafting and historical errors. The team, which is led by Andrew McIllhinney, recently welcomed director Craig Looker from Walker Morris LLP, who has an established reputation across the breadth of defined benefit scheme governance. David Young is the go-to partner for pensions litigation.

Practice head(s):

Andrew McIlhinney

Other key lawyers:

Craig Looker; David Young

Testimonials

Andrew McIlhinney and his team are responsive, thorough and supportive. They adopt a commercial attitude, work easily with our other advisers and deliver.

Key clients

Persimmon

Trustees of the Yorkshire Building Society Pension Scheme

Trustees of the Ronseal Pension Plan

Trustees of the Urenco UK Pension Scheme

Trustees of the Univar Pension Plan

Trustees of the Bibby Line Group Pension Plan

Trustees of Clariant Pension Scheme

Dr Marten (Footwear) Limited

RR Donnelly Inc

Axalta Coating Systems Inc

DP Ports Limited

Dominic Hunter Group Limited

Paragon Communications Limited

Trustees of Lego (UK) Pension Scheme

Lloyds Banking Group/Bank of Scotland

Work highlights

  • Advised the RR Donnelly Group on the sale of its UK entities and its extraction from three defined benefit pension schemes.
  • Advised Ardagh Group on a joint venture with Excal Corporation and the pensions issues relating to 60 production plants in Europe and the US.

Walker Morris LLP

With a client roster comprising national employers and trustees, Walker Morris LLP’s pensions practice handles the breadth of contentious and non-contentious issues. Recent engagements for practice head Jo Ratcliffe have involved GMP equalisation, revisions of scheme deeds and rules, audits of historical errors, buyins and buyouts and transactional due diligence. Director Ruth Bamforth leads on bulk transfer projects for defined contribution plans. Commercial litigation head Gwendoline Davies defended a high-value pensions claim for a pensions administrator concerning scheme management and investment.

Practice head(s):

Jo Ratcliffe

Other key lawyers:

Ruth Bamforth; Gwendoline Davies

Testimonials

The team has a great no-nonsense style. They crack on with projects, finding solutions to problems and making sure that good commercial outcomes can be achieved by all parties.’

Walker Morris are competent, good humoured, responsive and good value. They inspire confidence.

Jo Ratcliffe has a straightforward approach to advice, providing the information that is needed for clear decision making.

Ruth Bamforth has a comprehensive knowledge of legal issues and communicates them simply and clearly.

Ruth Bamforth is a technically able lawyer and communicator.

Key clients

Trustees of the Forth Ports Group Pension Scheme

Trustees of the Drax 2019 Defined Benefit Pension Scheme

Capita Group plc

Trustees of the Capita Pension and Life Assurance Scheme

Ardagh 2017 Pension Scheme

Trustees of Toyota Material

Trustees of the Water Associated Pension Scheme

Trustees of the York University Pension Fund

Trustees of the University of Manchester Superannuation  Scheme

Trustees of the PACCAR UK Pension Plan

Work highlights

  • Provided pensions advice on private equity fund CapVest’s acquisition on Young’s Seafood.
  • Provided pensions advice on Valeo Foods’ acquisition of Matthew Walker.

Wrigleys Solicitors LLP

Wrigleys Solicitors LLP’s pensions practice focuses on advising defined benefit scheme trustees on the breadth of governance issues, working with both regional and national clients. The team, which includes practice head Leigh Holmes, Kate Buckham and Louise Edwards, handles buyins and buyouts, scheme amendments, scheme funding, auto-enrolment compliance, historical corrections and master trust transfers. Recent client wins have increased the roster of charity, education and third sector organisations, while a number of family-owned businesses also retain the team for administrative advice.

Practice head(s):

Leigh Holmes

Other key lawyers:

Kate Buckham; Louise Edwards

Testimonials

When I initially engaged this team, over 10 years ago, they were rightly proud of their desire to do things differently from the alternative big practices, either in London or the regions. As they have grown they have largely maintained this independence of spirit. It is reflected in the way they engage with clients, which is more relaxed than many others.

The team has guided us through some interesting times in the unusual circumstances of our fund. They have all done this with sensible, pragmatic and practical advice delivered in a manner that has helped the trustee navigate some choppy waters.

Louise Edwards is helpful and easy to deal with.

CMS

Sheffield-based John Hanratty is the go-to name for CMS’s pensions offering in Yorkshire. Employers and a growing number of trustees in the healthcare, infrastructure, transport, public and third sectors engage the team for advice on Pension Ombudsman complaints, scheme mergers, corporate M&A and restructurings, redundancy obligations and scheme documentation reviews.

Practice head(s):

Mark Grant (London)

Other key lawyers:

John Hanratty

Testimonials

A good in-depth team using their national capabilities.’

The Sheffield pensions team led by John Hanratty is excellent- always happy to explain complex pensions issues in simple terms and always responds very quickly and accurately.

John Hanratty knows his subject inside out and has the ability to explain it in a user-friendly way.  Both a pleasure and very reassuring to work with.

Key clients

TPT Retirement Solutions

NG Bailey Group Limited

Care UK Limited

Oasis Community Learning

Ark Schools

The Trustees of the Benjn. R. Vickers & Sons Retirement Benefits Plan (1975)

Teesside Pension Fund

Work highlights

  • Advised TPT Retirement Solutions on pension ombudsman complaints; transfers to and from pension schemes; death benefit issues; and tax-related issues.
  • Advised Oasis Community Learning on a complaint against an administering authority under the Local Government Pension Scheme in connection with the calculation of the discount rate applied to the client’s academy conversions, the allocation of assets relative to liabilities and the discrimination between maintained schools and academies.
  • Advice to the administering authority of the Teesside Pension Fund in connection with multiple prospective and retrospective admission agreements including submitting documentation for allowing a contractor’s liability to be subsumed by a local authority.

Freeths LLP

Freeths LLP’s pensions team advises its client roster of owner-managed businesses, large corporates and public bodies on auto-enrolment procedures; often as a fixed-fee service. Private clients also instruct the team to advise on self-invested pension plan issues. Practice head Nigel Bolton and director Kim Jones handle pensions restructurings in corporate transactions, bulk transfers, buyouts and other wind-up procedures for lower-mid and mid-sized schemes.

Practice head(s):

Nigel Bolton

Other key lawyers:

Kim Jones

Testimonials

The team at Freeths have a deep commercial understanding, allowing them to tailor their advice to the needs of their clients. They work hard to identify a client’s objectives, allowing them to provide support that is both proactive and focused.

Nigel Bolton combines a great degree of technical knowledge with a pragmatic attitude and an approachable style.

Kim Jones is a very experienced lawyer with superb communication skills and great project management capabilities.’