Pensions is our business. We have provided pensions advice for more than 25 years and act for more than 500 pension schemes with a total value of over £300 billion. Whether you are a trustee, sponsoring employer or a provider of services to pension funds, our multiple award-winning, enthusiastic, 50-strong Pensions team has the capacity and experience to help you.
What makes us different? We provide pragmatic advice that helps our clients to decide on a course of action. If you have a pensions problem, we will offer you a solution.
Our pensions lawyers are located in each of our four UK offices (London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester) and we have pensions and benefits specialists in 23 of our overseas offices. We are supported by experts across the firm (domestically and internationally) in financial services, tax, labour and employment, disputes and commercial law.
Our clients include trustees and corporate sponsors of private sector defined benefit and defined contribution pension schemes of all sizes. We are experts in the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) and have acted for almost half of the funds in the LGPS in England and Wales. We have also advised government bodies, non-departmental public bodies, investment managers, insurers, pension intermediaries and, with our Institutional Investors Practice Group colleagues, sovereign wealth funds. We have a broad perspective on pensions issues due to the diversity of our client base.
We are well known across a range of sectors, including utilities, manufacturing, chemicals, engineering, automotive, healthcare, financial services, infrastructure, education, local government and charity/not for profit.
We win a lot of awards! In fact, we have won 18 national UK pensions industry awards in the last 18 years, based on the quality of our advice, our action-focussed communications and our innovative work within the pensions industry.
We Are Leaders
We pride ourselves on being at the forefront of pensions developments and actively seek to influence UK government policies on savings and retirement. We respond to government consultations on proposed policy changes, we actively contribute to all the major UK pensions professional bodies and we provide secondments to some of our major clients’ in-house pension departments, as well as to The Pensions Regulator and the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).
We are members of and key contributors to the Confederation of British Industry, Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, Investment and Life Assurance Group, Association of Pension Lawyers, Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association and Society of Pension Professionals, and we work in partnership with the Pensions Management Institute. Our involvement with these organisations gives us insights into legal and industry developments – invaluable when giving advice to our clients.
We have been involved in a number of industry “firsts”! To give you a few examples, we advised on:
- The first public sector pension plan to finalise a bulk annuity purchase
- The first longevity swap
- The first financial support direction
- The first large pension plan to enter the PPF assessment period
- The first use of The Pensions Regulator’s material detriment test outside of the EU/the US
On the Horizon
There is never a dull moment in pensions! The new Pension Schemes Act 2021 introduces many new powers for The Pensions Regulator (TPR), including the ability to issue fines of up to £1 million in certain circumstances and to play a bigger part in corporate transactions, as well as enabling better means of preventing pension scams and introducing big changes for the scheme funding regime. TPR is formulating its new single code of practice, which is more than a simple consolidation of the existing codes, meaning that all pension trustees will need to take some action in response to it. Over the next year, we can also continue to expect a lot more discussion around investment choices and the impact of environmental, social and governance factors, including climate change. GMP equalisation will continue to be a big part of the pensions landscape for many trustees, especially when deciding how and if they will top up pensions in relation to past transfers. Sitting alongside all of this, the pensions industry needs to remain on high alert for cyberattacks and data breaches, with remote working increasing the potential exposure for schemes.