We do more than just answer your legal questions. Clients, including employers, pension managers, pension fund chairs, independent trustees, employers' HRDs and FDs, advisers and statutory bodies turn to our "superb pensions practice" (Chambers UK) for advice.
One of the "jewels in the [firm's] crown", the team combines "excellent, direct and pragmatic advice" with "in-depth understanding" and a "friendly approach" (Legal 500).
Why you should choose us:
A tailored, efficient service - With 42 dedicated pensions lawyers, including 11 partners, and several specialist sub teams, clients can expect a team tailored to their exact requirements. The chances are that this team has seen it before, so you'll be using lawyers who alert you to the issues before they arise (and you won't be paying for learning on the job).
Easy access to wider legal advice - To provide the comprehensive service now essential to trustees, this team can quickly call upon expertise in funds, tax, corporate, real estate, banking and financial services.
Delivering what you really need - We'll work with you to work out what you really need, and then deliver that. We aim not just to answer legal questions but to consider whether you have asked us the right question, whether there is a less costly way forward and all the potential consequences of a specific route
Keeping clients abreast of the latest legal developments - our pensions experts are immersed in the latest regulatory changes and so are well-placed to advise on the hot topics effecting the industry. Through events, workshops, alerts and digital media they ensure clients have the information and guidance they need. The team's insights into the pledges of the main political parties ahead of the General Election is a prime example and is captured in our employment and pensions manifesto commitments chart.
Team members take an active role in the National Association of Pensions Funds, Society of Pensions Consultants and Association of Pension Lawyers. We also host a bi-annual seminar on current pension issues, webinars on new issues as they arise, and roundtable discussions for small groups of clients with a common interest.
We regularly work on an international scale and are well used to dealing with the unique governance and covenant issues that arise when a sponsoring employer is part of an international group.
All of this is why clients, including ICL Group Pension Plan of Fujitsu UK and Ireland, Rothesay Life, Thales UK Pension Scheme, G4S Pension Scheme, Pirelli Schemes, Finning Pension Schemes, Pension Protection Fund, Mitchells & Butlers Pension Plans, BMW (UK), NFU Mutual, Legal & General, Rolex, Hitachi Data Systems Retirement Benefits Plan, Twentieth Century Fox Film Pension Scheme, Volvo Penta UK Retirement Benefits Scheme and Stanley Gibbons, choose us.
Results for clients
Innovative protection structure
One of our pension scheme clients' sponsoring employer had a parent company that wanted to give it £300 million worth of shares. But there were liabilities attaching to those shares, which would have exposed the rest of the pension fund to the risk of claims. A remote risk, but not one a trustee could take. The trustees wanted the asset in the fund, but not the risk.
Our Pensions team designed an innovative protective structure around the shares, so that the fund could take the economic benefit without the liability risk. The shares (a large minority holding in a NASDAQ listed company) have since increased very substantially in value and been sold, a great result for the fund.
First ever AE-Compliant cash balance scheme
A very large employer client was in the first wave of the auto-enrolment obligations. It had a corporate culture which did not want to move completely away from defined benefit provision for the workers coming into the new arrangement, most of whom were being pensioned for the first time.
We designed and wrote (in a very short time) the first ever AE-compliant cash balance scheme, which gives tens of thousands of moderately paid workers access to a defined benefit lump sum on retirement. The investment risk has been taken away from the employees, who are not well placed to take it. And the long term unknown of a major longevity risk has been taken away from the employer. More than 25,000 members signed up to the 'half way house' scheme which has been keenly followed by Minister for Pensions, Steve Webb.