Clifford Sims is a partner in our pensions group and the UK lead for the firm’s Institutional Investors 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”; "very respectful but firm in his advice, is absolutely lovely and has a real ability to work with clients". The Legal 500 UK commented he is “more commercial than the average pensions lawyer” and “deeply knowledgeable”. He advises trustees, local authorities, sovereign wealth funds, 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 a past chairman of both the Association of Pension Lawyers' investment committee and the investment committee of the Society of Pension Professionals. He was 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.
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Public Sector

  • Providing legal advice to DCLG (now MHCLG) and the Cabinet Office on structural reform options for the LGPS in respect of collective investment vehicles and fund mergers.
  • Strategic adviser to the Northern LGPS, ACCESS Pool funds, LGPS Central Pool funds and Border to Coast Pensions Partnership on investment structures, local government, corporate and procurement law.
  • 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.
  • Negotiating and advising on the standardisation of global custody agreements and separately transition management agreements for LGPS funds resulting in a framework agreement covering six global custodian banks which is open to all LGPS 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

  • Advising on the pensions implications of the New York and Milan listing of CNH Industrial NV and advice to the trustees of four schemes sponsored by the CNH and Fiat groups. Subsequently  negotiated complex funding support packages in respect of the schemes.
  • 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 asset backed funding structures for Nuffield Health Pension Trustees Limited and Tennants Pension Trustees Limited.
  • Advising numerous UK pension trustee clients on investment management agreements and pooled fund documentation across all asset classes and jurisdictions.
  • 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.


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


  • England and Wales, 1996


  • English
  • French
  • Italian
  • Included in the Seventh Edition of The Best Lawyers in the United Kingdom (2018).
  • Recommended in Chambers UK 2019 for Pensions, London (Band 2).
  • Recommended in The Legal 500 UK 2019 for Pensions.

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  • In Sickness and in Health: Pensions and Social Care, 2013
  • Pensions in the Age of Austerity, 2012
  • Pension Fund Investment, Tolley's Pensions Law, 2018
  • Buying Time: a CIPFA Pensions Panel Guide to procuring efficiency in public sector pensions administration, Chartered Institute of Public Finance Accountants, 2010

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