Pensions

Corporate

We have substantial experience advising on the pension aspects of a wide range of corporate transactions, from acquisitions of FTSE listed companies to smaller deals where pension risk can be a potential deal breaker.

We have advised on a number of deals where pension liabilities have been apportioned to another group company with the agreement of the pension trustees, including advising alongside a top City pensions practice on a groundbreaking flexible apportionment arrangement structure.

We have experience advising on the Pensions Regulator’s powers and clearance applications including practical steps to reduce risk exposure without seeking clearance.

Trust-based pension schemes

We advise employers and trustees of trust-based pension schemes including defined benefit, career average and defined contribution schemes.

We understand the challenges facing employers and trustees and have advised on scheme strategy, scheme closures, funding and recovery plan negotiations, contingent assets, escrow arrangements and conflicts of interest. We also deal with all the usual day to day queries, legal compliance and updating and amending scheme documents.

We have particular expertise dealing with multi-employer schemes where significant exit debts can be triggered. We can help negotiate exits and risk mitigation strategies in relation to such schemes.

We advise employers in a wide range of sectors with a particular expertise in the charity, retail, leisure and manufacturing sectors.

Public sector pension schemes

We advise on all the main public sector pension schemes (including the LGPS, NHSPS, PCSPS and TPS) together with the various other smaller public sector schemes.

We advise public sector employers, service providers and Third Sector employers on public sector pension issues, with particular experience advising on the transfer of staff from the public sector, the Fair Deal on Staff Transfers policy and the associated allocation of risk. We have advised on the pensions aspects of a groundbreaking spin-out of over 1,000 staff from a local authority to a newly formed charity as part of switching to a strategic commissioning council model.

Our experience advising on both sides of such transfers means we are well placed to guide service providers and charities to a practical solution when negotiating with the public sector. In particular, we can help minimise risk exposure while addressing the concerns of the other side.

Supporting law firms

We support a number of City law firms without pensions expertise on pensions-related matters on an ongoing basis. We structure our relationship with each law firm and their clients in the most appropriate way to meet the needs of the parties involved.

Automatic enrolment and mastertrusts

We advise on automatic enrolment strategy and the practical detail of implementation including advising on assessing your workforce and changing existing pension benefits to fit with automatic enrolment.

We have experience advising some of the largest employers to implement automatic enrolment including advising one of the UK’s largest cinema chains on this process. We can use this experience to support smaller employers with implementation.

We have also reviewed and advised on the terms of a number of mastertrust structures established to deal with automatic enrolment including NOW:Pensions and The People’s Pension.

Pensions disputes

We advise on a wide range of pensions disputes and claims including Pensions Ombudsman claims, rectification and litigation.

SIPP and SSAS

We advise on self-invested personal pensions (SIPP) and small self-administered schemes (SSAS) including advising providers, employers and individuals on such schemes.

Our specialist in these areas is Comron Rowe.