Pensions
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Pensions

Our large team has the experience to help you address your current and future pension needs. Whether you are an employer, trustee or pensions professional, our focus is on providing clear advice. Our size, experience, knowledge and skills mean we can advise you on a broad range of pension issues – from the day-to-day to the unusual.
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We have provided specialist pensions advice for over 30 years.

Our pensions team is one of the largest City-based pensions teams advising both pension scheme trustees and sponsors. We provide "full service" pensions legal advice and not simply a "corporate support" service. The typical services we provide include:

  • preparing various governing and amending scheme documentation, using our own precedent documents to ensure we provide a cost-effective service to our clients
  • advising on questions of interpretation of scheme documents, what benefits the rules provide and what formalities are required for different decisions
  • negotiating contracts with service providers, including scheme administrators, investment management and bulk annuity documentation, and advising on any disputes that arise
  • dealing with member benefit queries and disputes, from informal queries through to complaints to the Pensions Ombudsman
  • preparing policy documents, ensuring consistency in on particular issues
  • resolving issues with historic documentation
  • clearance applications and liaison with the Pensions Regulator
  • restructuring and insolvency solutions
  • advising on corporate acquisitions, disposals, mergers, demergers and reorganisations on pension schemes
  • providing mediation services to the pensions industry.

Our pensions expertise stretches across the firm, and we have dedicated specialists to assist in all pensions related issues.

Visit our pensions hub

"They provide exactly what we need in a timely manner; they give great advice and assistance throughout."
Chambers UK 2019

Trustees of the Barnardo Staff Pension Scheme, Construction of RPI

Advised the trustees on a claim for construction of the definition of "Retail Prices Index" in the scheme rules (Miles Buckinghamshire and others v Barnardo's and others [2015]).

Pension fund claim against global fund manager

Advising the trustee board of a multi-billion pound pension fund in relation to a multi-million pound claim against one of the world's largest fund managers for negligence and breach of investment mandate.

Pension scheme dispute

Acting for a financial institution in defending claims in a complex multi-party dispute in respect of a pension scheme.

Impact of company sale on pensions

Advised the trustee of a multi-national healthcare company on the potential debt arising in relation to its pension plan as a result of a sale and the management/reduction of that debt.

Bulk annuity purchase

Advising the Jardine Lloyd Thompson pension scheme trustees on purchasing a series of bulk annuity policies from the Prudential covering approximately £210 million of liabilities in aggregate.

PLC internal reorganisation

Advising on the pensions aspect of an internal re-organisation involving the triggering of debts on employers due to the pension fund and negotiating parent guarantees to the pension fund.

Board of the Pension Protection Fund (PPF), change in levy calculation

Advised in relation to a unique and multi-disciplined project changing the calculation of the PPF levy.

Our pensions expertise stretches across the firm, and we have dedicated specialists to assist:

Private wealth

Advise on legal and tax issues affecting offshore pensions, in particular occupational schemes created by employers for non-domiciled employees, known as IPPs. In addition, we advise on all aspects of QROPS, acting for both trustees and the members.

Regulatory compliance

Advise on investment management/advisory agreements and related regulatory issues, including the custody/client money rules. Our Regulatory Compliance and Litigation teams work closely to assist clients in their interactions with the FCA, from initial queries from the regulator through to section 166 skilled persons reports and contentious enforcement actions.

Real Estate

Act on behalf of pension funds for all aspects of real estate investment, development and management including a number of funds that are managed by LaSalle Investment Management.

Lawyer

Helena Berman Partner

T:  +44 20 7809 2196
M:  Email Helena | Vcard Office:  London

Lawyer

Philip Goodchild Partner

T:  +44 20 7809 2166
M:  +44 7825 384 004 Email Philip | Vcard Office:  London

Latest news & insights

06 Jan 2021

From Insights

The impact of Brexit on pension schemes

When the UK left the EU on 31 January 2020, a transitional period started during which the relationship between the UK and the EU continued as if the UK were still a p..

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22 Dec 2020

From Insights

Compliance Statements to CMA due by 7 January 2021

Requirements under the Investment Consultancy and Fiduciary Management Market Investigation Order 2019

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02 Dec 2020

From Insights

The composition of the Retail Prices Index set to change

The composition of the RPI is set to change from February 2030. RPI index values will be calculated using the same methods and data sources that are used to calculate ..

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26 Oct 2020

From Insights

Pension fund management services provided to defined benefit schemes not exempt from VAT

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has put an end to any suggestion that pension fund management services provided to occupational pension schemes are V..

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05 Oct 2020

From Insights

Pensions snapshot - October 2020

This edition of snapshot looks at the latest legal developments in pensions.

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04 Sep 2020

From Insights

Media coverage: Under The Pensions Regulator's microscope

With the financial system in flux and pension schemes' funding under the spotlight, many trustees and businesses will find themselves engaging ever more with The Pensi..

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03 Sep 2020

From Insights

Pensions snapshot - September 2020

This edition of snapshot looks at the latest legal developments in pensions.

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17 Aug 2020

From Insights

Media coverage: Professional Pensions - What the new corporate insolvency law means for the pensions industry

The 248-page Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act provides additional options and protections for companies that would otherwise be facing insurmountable financial ..

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21 Jul 2020

From News

Stephenson Harwood advises on £200 million buy-in transaction

Law firm Stephenson Harwood LLP has advised a Trustee client on the completion of a £200 million buy-in of pension scheme liabilities with one of the leading insurers ..

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16 Jul 2020

From Insights

Court of Appeal judgment closes the door on retrospective closure of the Barber window (except in very limited circumstances)

The Court of Appeal has handed down its judgment in the case of Safeway v Newton which confirms that the introduction of section 62 of the Pensions Act 1995 was suffic..

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17 Jun 2020

From Insights

New fears for the position of pension schemes on a corporate insolvency

The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill (the "Bill") was published on 20 May 2020. The Bill introduces a new type of ‘moratorium’ whereby eligible companies can t..

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03 Jun 2020

From Insights

Pensions snapshot - June 2020

This edition of snapshot looks at the latest legal developments in pensions.

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06 May 2020

From Insights

Pensions snapshot - May 2020

This edition of snapshot looks at the latest legal developments in pensions.

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30 Apr 2020

From Insights

Landmark Supreme Court decision on pension scheme trustee ESG investing

Case: R (on the application of Palestine Solidarity Campaign Limited and another) v Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government - Supreme Court

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09 Apr 2020

From Insights

Pensions snapshot - April 2020

This edition of snapshot looks at the latest legal developments in pensions.

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30 Mar 2020

From Insights

Important TPR update for Trustees including the flexibility to reduce or suspend deficit repair contributions (DRCs) for three months

Trustees may decide to reduce or suspend deficit repair contributions (DRCs) for three months

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© Stephenson Harwood LLP 2016. Any reference to Stephenson Harwood in this document means Stephenson Harwood LLP and/or its affiliated undertakings. Any reference to a partner is used to refer to a member of Stephenson Harwood LLP.