Stephenson Harwood recruits pension partner

1 November 2011

International law firm Stephenson Harwood has appointed Fraser Sparks as a partner in the pension team. Fraser joins from Squire, Sanders & Dempsey (UK) LLP, where he has been a partner since 2008.

Fraser joined Hammonds LLP, which combined with Squire, Sanders & Dempsey in January 2011, as a trainee and has worked for the firm throughout his career with a secondment to the ICI Pension Fund secretariat from May 2006 to January 2007.

Fraser provides legal advice on all aspects of pensions law to both trustees and sponsoring employers, although he has particular expertise in all-risk insurance buy-outs, investment issues (including implementing liability hedging investment strategies), contingent asset funding arrangements and employer debt arrangements. He has worked closely with the FIAT group and has also advised trustees of pension schemes sponsored by Western Power Distribution, Allianz Insurance, Galliford Try and Elementis. Fraser has recently been advising the trustees of the George & Harding pension scheme on the refusal by the Pension Protection Fund to accept scheme members for protection due to the absence of a 'statutory employer'. Fraser has also been involved in developing pensions law, working in conjunction with the CBI and the Department for Work and Pensions.

Commenting on his appointment, Fraser said: "The work that the pensions team at Stephenson Harwood have undertaken is in many ways complementary to the skills I have developed in my career to date. I am delighted to join the firm, particularly during a pivotal time for the pensions industry where issues with legislation, such as the employer debt provisions, still need to be resolved and we have the challenge of auto-enrolment to implement. The shape of the pensions legal advice market is changing and Stephenson Harwood is ideally placed to provide pensions legal advice of the quality and in the manner that trustees and employers are looking for."

Mark Catchpole, head of the pension team at Stephenson Harwood, said: "Fraser brings with him a huge range of experience and expertise in pensions law. We look forward to him helping to build on the work of the team and aid our continuing expansion."

The pensions team at Stephenson Harwood has broad experience of working with trustee boards, parent and subsidiary companies and charities institutions to meet their pensions obligations. They are also experienced in pension litigation and dispute resolution, scheme mergers, reorganisations and funding requirements.