Temple Bright advises Nikon on group reorganisation and grows pensions team
Bristol and London law firm Temple Bright has acted for Japanese multinational Nikon on the pensions aspects of its reorganisation in which Nikon UK merged with Nikon Holdings Europe.
The cross-border merger, which took place on December 1, was implemented as part of a planned simplification of Nikon’s European legal entity structures.
Under the deal, responsibility for the Nikon UK defined benefit pension scheme was transferred to Nikon Holdings Europe by way of a “flexible apportionment arrangement” – a common pensions restructuring tool which allows pension liabilities to be transferred from one employer to another with the agreement of the pension trustees.
Temple Bright pensions partner Comron Rowe has advised on many such arrangements in recent years, including in connection with pension scheme exits, intra-group and charity sector mergers and reorganisations, and other corporate transactions.
Nikon Europe VP John Walshe said: “It was a pleasure to work with Temple Bright on this project.
“Comron’s pragmatic and solution-orientated approach helped ensure the complex pensions aspects of this merger were managed incredibly effectively.
“The transfer of pension liabilities was a fundamental enabler to our legal entity restructuring project and Comron was able to deliver this on time and to budget.
“Key to his success was his strong stakeholder engagement which he was able to combine with detailed technical discussions with the pension trustee lawyers.”
Comron Rowe added: “It was great to have the opportunity to work with the Nikon UK and European team to deliver this project.
“Advising on this deal for such an established and respected brand has been a significant milestone for our pensions practice here at Temple Bright and a reflection of the strong capability of our team to advise on pensions restructuring arrangements.”
Temple Bright launched in 2010 with a streamlined “partner-only” business model designed primarily for SME clients, but the firm’s approach soon also proved attractive to larger clients including Plcs and public bodies.
It is such larger organisations that most often need specialist legal advice on pensions, and the firm launched its pensions practice in 2015 with the addition of Comron Rowe, a well-respected senior pensions lawyer who began his career at Simmons & Simmons in the City before founding and running a successful pensions practice in the South West for many years.
Temple Bright’s pensions practice has seen significant growth since then, with a focus on SME and larger corporate clients with defined benefit pension schemes, transactional advice and the charity, public and education sectors.
Given the niche character of his expertise, Comron has developed a significant service line in partnering with other law firms who choose not to operate a pensions practice in-house and currently works alongside a number of top ranked charity and public sector specialist law firms and corporate practices.
The department has recently been augmented by the addition of ex-Mayer Brown pensions litigator and solicitor advocate Deborah Latimer, who has also worked in-house at the Pension Protection Fund and at boutique law firm Signet Partners.
Deborah said: “I am delighted to have joined Temple Bright – a young firm with an innovative model which, as the Nikon deal shows, has been able to grow a strong practice in an area usually associated with the biggest firms and clients. I look forward to working alongside Comron and growing our pensions practice further.”
Temple Bright co-founder Tim Summers said: “We are delighted to have advised Nikon on this specialist aspect of an important transaction for the group. It is to Comron’s credit that his practice at Temple Bright has developed to the point of involving household names.
“Now is the right time to grow the pensions team and we welcome Deborah. Adding pensions litigation capacity will make our offering still more attractive to SMEs and larger corporates, and also especially to other law firms. We really enjoy partnering with our peers who do not handle pensions advice themselves, enabling them to provide their clients with a seamless service.”
Temple Bright was launched in Bristol in 2010, using a tech-enabled business model. It opened a second office in London EC2 in 2013 and now has 72 partners, evenly spread across the two locations.
This article appeared in the Bristol Business Newsletter on 18 December 2020.