Pensions and benefits

“They understand what issues are important, and what I particularly like about them is that they are on top of the deadlines. There is no need to push them as you know they will deliver.”

Chambers and Partners 2018
The Blake Morgan Pensions and Benefits team provides expert advice to employers, trustees, banks and other financial institutions on private and public sector pension arrangements. 

Main areas of practice

The team has significant and wide ranging experience gained in both top City law firms and leading actuarial and benefit consultancies. This blend means that we can better understand the issues faced by our clients and so add value in the advice and services we provide. 

Our Pension and Benefits lawyers provide specialist advice on all aspects of pension law, including:

  • Regulatory compliance - automatic enrolment, interpretation and drafting of legal documents and agreements
  • Schemes - advice on alterations and winding up, scheme mergers, closures to accrual or new entrants
  • Pensions disputes - member complaints, disputes with advisors and administrators or between trustees and employers and including rectification
  • Other employee benefitsincluding life assurance, private medical arrangements, including self-insured trusts, long term sickness schemes, share schemes etc

The team also provides training for employers and trustees on regulatory scrutiny and governance and advice on issues connected with public sector transfers or outsourcing, guarantees and other contingent asset arrangements and reviews of investment management and fiduciary management agreements.

We work closely with:

  • Our Employment and HR Consultancy teams to provide advice on contractual and employee relations issues.
  • Our Corporate and Banking and Finance teams to ensure that pension and benefit issues are addressed in the context of any corporate restructuring or refinance.
  • Our Insolvency team in relation to pension issues in any insolvency process.
  • Our Real Estate team in relation to property investment in a variety of schemes including small self-administered schemes and self-invested personal pension plans.

Clients

Our experts on pension law advise employers, scheme trustees, banks and other organisations involved in the operation of occupational pension schemes and personal pension scheme arrangements. 

Clients who have benefited from our specialist pensions advice include: 

  • Large public sector health trusts and charities
  • Asset management companies
  • Private sector financial institutions and trusts
  • Social housing organisations
  • Charities, universities, colleges and academies

Significant experience

Examples of how clients have benefited from our pensions expertise include:

  • Advising an employer on the changes that need to be made to its defined benefit pension scheme in order for it to satisfy the statutory requirements of an automatic enrolment scheme.
  • Assisting a UK-based, US-owned manufacturing company in advising the transferring trustees on a proposal from the UK sponsoring company and its US parent company to merge the scheme with two other group UK pension arrangements.
  • Advising the trustees of the Industrial Acoustics Company Limited Retirement Benefits Scheme in successful rectification proceedings (Industrial Acoustics v Crowhurst [2012]).
  • Advising the trustees of a number of defined benefit schemes in relation to the appointment by the trustee boards of a fiduciary manager.
  • Advising the trustees of Milford Haven Port Authority Retirement Benefits Scheme on a £9m investment into a solar park in the form of an asset back contribution. We advised on risks for the Trustees around employer-related investment legislation and the use of the Scottish Limited Partnership. We ensured the trustees were protected with indemnities and secured a funding underpin from the Port Authority.

“Excellent, timely and reasonable fees. Adrian Lamb is viewed as very approachable and knowledgeable. ”

Related expertise

Main contacts

Related Knowledge & Resources

The Budget is coming – possible changes to tax treatment for pension contributions

News

This year's Budget will take place on 29 October and there is the usual speculation that the Chancellor will make changes to the tax relief available on pension contributions but other changes to pensions may be announced as well.

New report warns of looming incapacity crisis

Press Release

A new report from SFE (Solicitors for the Elderly) and independent think tank, Centre for Future Studies, reveals the UK is leaving medical and care preferences to chance.

Autumn Budget 2017 - what does this mean for employers and pensions?

News

In his Budget, Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced that the Government was resolved to look forward and not backwards and to produce a "balanced approach" to prepare Britain for the future.

GMP Equalisation - the Lloyds Bank judgment - some greater clarity and certainty?

If you are a trustee or sponsor of a pension scheme that was contracted out of the state-earnings related scheme before 6 April 1997 this affects you.

Is the current approach on valuing pensions fit for mediation?

There are not many occasions in a mediation where I hesitate to say that mediations are conducted in the "shadow of the court". However, I must admit to some discomfort over pensions.

Life assurance schemes – the top 10 compliance risks employers should avoid

Life assurance schemes can be established either as tax registered schemes, or non-registered schemes where the underlying benefits will not count towards the member's lifetime allowance which is currently £1.25 million.

Group Life Newsflash:- excepted schemes

A lot of employers are being advised to consider unregistered group life schemes for their staff for the provision of lump sum death in service benefits.

Protecting Defined Benefit Pension Schemes

Following its Green Paper on Security and Sustainability in Defined Benefit Pension Schemes in February last year the DWP has now published its white paper under the above heading.

Are you ready for higher automatic enrolment contributions from 6 April?

As many employers will know, on 6 April 2018, and then again on 6 April 2019, the minimum contributions to a pension scheme for the purposes of the automatic enrolment regime will increase.