Gillian McCue Senior Associate

Photograph of Gillian McCue

Contact Details

“Gillian McCue is "very clear, very thorough and relaxed to deal with," says a source. She advises a broad range of clients on pensions matters relating to transactions and public sector schemes, among other issues.”

Chambers and Partners 2019

“Excellent.”

Legal 500 2018
Gillian is a Senior associate specialising in pensions and benefits advising on all employer and trustee pension scheme responsibilities.

Main areas of practice

Gillian advises trustees and employers on all pensions issues including, regulatory compliance, corporate transactions and investment responsibilities on both public service and private sector pension schemesShe also advises on incentive arrangements for key executives and staff.

Significant experience 

Public sector

  • The Welsh Ministers on staff reorganisations involving the Local Government Pension Scheme, Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme and industry-wide pension schemes.  Includes due diligence, advice on form of security for pension funds, novation agreements and exit debts in the Local Government Pension Scheme. 

Health and Social Care

  • NHS Surrey on its £500m deal with Virgin Care Services for the transfer of its provider-arm, Surrey Community Health – delivered a bespoke solution to enable transferring staff to retain access to the NHS pension arrangements.  Provides follow-up pensions advice to Virgin Care Services;
  • A national care home provider on the novation of Local Government Pension Scheme admission arrangements from the incumbent contractor, following the provider’s bid to provide local authority care services;
  • A mental health trust on claims from its staff for enhanced pension rights;
  • An NHS trust in a Pensions Ombudsman claim for maladministration of an ill-health pension from the NHS Pension Scheme;
  • A health trust on a Pensions Ombudsman claim from the widow of an employee in relation to the death benefits payable;
  • A charity performing services on behalf of a local authority of flexible retirement rights under the NHS Pension Scheme (1995 and 2008 sections) and options for harmonising its staff pensions;

Social Housing

  • A national charity with a number of subsidiary companies making contributions to several different pension schemes; LGPS, SHPS, a stakeholder scheme and personal pensions. The client wished to understand the implications of a restructure.  Gillian offered options for managing pension debts should they trigger, advice on pension and TUPE consultation and the level of pension provision necessary following a TUPE transfer of staff, as well as an auto-enrolment health-check on the pension schemes, employment contracts, flexible benefits, payroll and administration.  Gillian suggested salary sacrifice as a way to generate cost efficiencies. 
  • Advised a social landlord employer on a review of its pension arrangements.  The employer was a community admission body within the LGPS and also participated in SHPS.  Following the SHPS employer covenant review, the employer's contribution rate soared.  Gillian provided advice on managing the risks of each proposed strategy, having reviewed employment contracts and collective agreements.

Education

  • A University in a claim for enhanced pension rights under the Equality Act 2010.
  • A University pension scheme on compliance with sex equalisation legislation.

Leisure

  • Admission arrangements for the Local Government Pension Scheme and managing exit debts on leaving the Local Government Pension Scheme.
  • Advice on all aspects of the Government's Fair Deal for Staff Pensions guidance, including future pension entitlement of local authority staff following their TUPE transfer to private sector employers and bulk transfers of accrued pension rights.

Private Sector

  • Evans and Reid Investment Co. Ltd Pension and Assurance Scheme – winding-up of the pension scheme.  Advising the independent trustee Smith & Williamson on the steps to be completed during the Pension Protection Fund assessment period.  The scheme has few members remaining but a significant number of issues have arisen from interpretation of PPF legislation on death in deferment to pension sharing on divorce.
  • Advising a £17 million pension scheme on the pensions implications of group reorganisation and making an approach to the Pensions Regulator for Clearance. 

Contentious pensions

  • Advised a joint venture on who is responsible for meeting its pension deficit in the Local Government Pension Scheme at the end of the contract. Our advice involved a consideration of insolvency, commercial, contract and employment law.
  • Advised on the staff consultation implications of removing the dependants’ pension from a trust which also provides a death-in-service lump sum including advising on the implications of Section 255 of the Pensions Act 2004.

“She is very quick to respond to queries, very thorough and very down to earth.”

Chambers and Partners 2018

“Very professional and diligent.”

Chambers UK 2017

Expertise

Articles by Gillian

Public sector focus - an analysis of the decision of the Supreme Court in the Brewster case.

Article

The case centres around use of nomination forms in the context of unmarried partners – the issue was whether the nomination form requirement (which did not apply to spouses or civil partners) could be objectively justified.

Changes to the tax rules

Article

At the 2014 Budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced sweeping changes to the tax rules applying when an individual decides to access money purchase pension savings.

A brief update on the Pensions Ombudsman

Article

It's over a year since Anthony Arter took over the helm at the Pensions Ombudsman. Now seems an opportune time to look at some of the changes he has made to the organisation..

Related Knowledge & Resources

Land gifted by benefactor for use as school reverted back to his descendants when school replaced

The Court of Appeal clarified the legal position under legislation from a very different era but whose terms remain relevant and are still being felt today, and local authorities will need to take note with their educational buildings.

What employers need to know about paying life assurance benefits

What should you consider when paying out life assurance benefits – and what are the implications if you get it wrong? Adrian Lamb, Legal Director in our Pensions and Benefits team considers the issues involved for employers and trustees.

Lessons Learned in 2018

This year there have been some interesting cases looking at the conduct of local authorities and creditors when commencing bankruptcy proceedings or serving court documents on debtors.

The Draft Wales Bill

What is the significance of the provisions in the Bill? This is a draft Bill published by the Secretary of State for Wales, rather than a Bill proper. It is being consulted on, in advance of introducing a Bill proper sometime early in the new year.