Sims, Clifford

Clifford Sims

Partner

Clifford Sims leads our Pensions practice group. He is recognised by Chambers UK as a leading individual for pensions and “an expert in investment and financial services in relation to occupational pensions” who is "extremely well organised, very commercial" and “is someone who is able to combine good technical knowledge with communications skills”.

The Legal 500 UK commented he is “more commercial than the average pensions lawyer” and “deeply knowledgeable”. He advises trustees, local authorities, product providers, investment banks and sponsoring employers on pensions and investment issues.

He is a frequent speaker at conferences and seminars. He is the author of the investment chapter of Tolley’s Pensions Law and thought leadership white papers for the firm, Pensions in the Age of Austerity (2012) and In Sickness and in Health: Pensions and Social Care (2013).

Clifford is an Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute and a member of the Association of Pension Lawyers. He is the immediate past chairman of both the Association of Pension Lawyers' investment committee and the investment committee of the Society of Pension Consultants. He is the only lawyer on the Department of Communities and Local Government’s working party on investment regulatory reform.

Client Endorsements

  • “The partners and staff have always provided a client focussed, diligent and cost effective service. On day to day matters, the advice is comprehensive but pragmatic. On complex issues the firm’s technical resource has been unchallenged, invoking specialist experience from within the firm as necessary. The support provided to the Fund has been faultless and is greatly valued.” David Welch, Chairman, Tennants Pension Trustees Limited. 
  • “I know that for powerful clients it is standard to expect fee paid advisers to work all hours to conclude a deal. I also know that you and your team cleared your diaries (working and personal) to see us through this extremely challenging project and timescale at short notice. Your support, advice and goodwill focused on assisting the Trustee to achieve its objective for member security by concluding the buy-out has been exceptional. Issues have been addressed in a professional manner as if "business as usual" which has lowered the heat on those of us who were overwhelmed by the varied demands of the project. 
  • A personal thanks from me, this was a time when I had many conflicting demands on my time but I never felt that I needed to "manage" the team- they were always leading from the front.” Dr Neil Cross, Chairman, Alliance UniChem Pension Trustees Limited.

Explore

Public Sector

  • Project managing the procurement for the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority and the West Midlands Pension Fund of the first bulk annuity purchase in the LGPS in a transaction with Prudential for £272 million. 
  • Advising Suffolk Pension Fund on a £240 million asset transition, involving seven different funds and numerous investment structures. Separately, advising the Fund on recovery options following the insolvency of MF Global. 
  • Advising the Royal Bank of Scotland on derivative protection for local government pension schemes including, in particular, the project management of the establishment of a bespoke hedging SPV, Blue Swan Global Investments, for Berkshire Pension Fund's inflation and interest rate liabilities of approximately £250 million. 
  • Providing legal advice to DCLG and the Cabinet Office on structural reform options for the LGPS in respect of collective investment vehicles and fund mergers. 
  • Negotiating and advising on the standardisation of global custody agreements for LGPS funds resulting in a framework agreement covering six global custodian banks which is open to 89 funds. 
  • Drafting and negotiating for the West Midlands Pension Fund bespoke investment management agreements for various asset classes, and related transition management agreements and negotiating the fund’s entry into the Pensions Infrastructure Platform.

Private Sector

  • Project management of the legal aspects of complex transitions for the Halliburton Group UK Pension Plan, including a major defined contribution transition (£150 million) and implementation of a fiduciary management mandate for defined benefit assets (£500 million). 
  • Implementing an asset backed funding structure for Tennants Pension Trustees Limited. 
  • Advising numerous UK pension trustee clients on pooled fund documentation across all asset classes. Recent experience includes several high yield debt funds and real estate funds operated by M+G, Highbridge, CBRE, Morgan Stanley and LGIM. 
  • Project management of benefit changes and restructurings (including closures to future accrual) for numerous employer and trustee clients, including schemes sponsored by Allianz
  • Insurance, Compass Group PLC, State Street Bank and Halliburton Inc. 
  • Project managing liability-driven investment programmes in respect of schemes sponsored by Jaguar Landrover, Nuffield Health, IMI and Anglian Water covering several billion pounds of liabilities. 
  • Advising on the pensions implications of the New York and Milan listing of CNH Industrial NV and advice to the trustees of eight schemes sponsored by the CNH and Fiat groups.

Education

  • College of Law, Diploma, Law, 1994
  • University of Western Ontario, M.A., 1986
  • University College London, B.A., 1984

Admissions

  • England and Wales, 1996

Languages

  • English
  • Italian
  • French
  • Recognized as a leading individual by Chambers UK 2016
  • Recommended in The Legal 500 UK 2015 for pensions: non-contentious

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