Pensions & Employee Benefits
T: +44 (0)20 7406 1651
Alison is a Partner in our Pensions & Employee Benefits team and advises on a wide variety of pensions matters to a broad spectrum of clients including trustee boards, independent trustees, sponsoring employers and individual scheme members.
At the moment (in the wake of coronavirus / Covid-19) Alison is advising a vast array of employers on:
– their pension obligations;
– what they can reclaim from HMRC under the furlough scheme in respect of pension provision;
– how sums reclaimable from furlough can be impacted by pension salary sacrifice arrangements; and
– how they can make significant cost-savings in relation to pension provision (whether temporarily or permanently).
Alison expects Covid-19 is likely to result in a vast increase in the number of employers struggling to meet their final salary deficit contributions. Alison and the rest of the Pensions & Employee Benefits Team are well experienced at helping parties navigate difficult times and they pride themselves in presenting the options in a clear manner, with input where necessary from colleagues from Wedlake Bell’s Employment, Banking, Corporate and Commercial property teams.
The schemes Alison advises on range from Small Self-Administered Schemes to multi-employer Schemes with assets in excess of £300m.
A number of these clients are Trustee boards of pension schemes with charitable or not-for-profit sponsoring employers. These schemes often face different funding pressures and covenant issues to schemes with corporate sponsoring employers. Whilst priding herself in having strong technical expertise Alison is particularly aware of the other factors (e.g. commercial and personal) which are important to her clients. She takes the time to understand her clients’ needs and keeps these at the forefront of her mind when delivering her tailored legal advice.
- Advising on the temporary restructuring of pension provision for a UK based employer to assist it in achieving material cost-savings in anticipation of a significant downturn in turnover as a result of Covid-19.
- Advising on the pensions implications arising from the restructuring of a European group of companies, involving a flexible apportionment arrangement.
- Advising a client tendering for an outsourcing pitch on the implications of future benefit provision via the Local Government Pension Scheme and the management of liabilities transferring to it as a result of a TUPE transfer.
- Advising numerous multinational companies with regards to their auto-enrolment obligations in the UK.
- Advising on the substitution of an English Principal Employer with a French Principal Employer which required collaboration with French avocats and financial covenant advice and the subsequent merger of the group’s two final salary schemes.
- Advising the Trustees of a 140-year old charity on the closure of its scheme to new members and future accrual of benefits.
- Advising the subsidiary of a Fortune 500 company on its obligations under a trust based defined contribution scheme.
- Advising the corporate Trustee of a Scheme with regards to the potential augmentation of benefits as part of a redundancy programme being operated by its sponsoring employer.
- Advising the Trustees of a final salary scheme following a request from the sponsoring employer to amend its Rules relating to distribution of surplus to facilitate payment to the sponsoring employer upon the scheme winding-up.
- Advising the sponsoring employer of a scheme in relation to its exercise of discretion in relation to the distribution of a lump sum death benefit in the context of an alleged fraud by one of the eligible recipients.
Alison studied law at Southampton University and the College of Law in Guildford. She worked at a leading independent trustee company for over two years, gaining specialist trust experience and taking responsibility for the project management and winding up of several high profile pension schemes. During this period Alison worked as part of the team which ensured the successful transfer of the MG Rover Group Pension Scheme to the PPF in March 2007.
Alison joined Wedlake Bell as a trainee in 2007 and qualified into the Pensions and Employee Benefits Team in Autumn 2008. She is an Associate of the Pensions Management Institute. Alison was involved with organising the APL’s Annual Conference 2012 and was chief organiser for the 2017 Conference.
“New PPF requirements will cause trustees a real(isable) headache”, Pensions Insight, 3 March 2016.
“Clear, plain English is the key for trustees when tweaking scheme documents“, Engaged Investor, 6 March 2014.
“Schemes still under RPI/CPI cosh from employers“, Pensions Expert, 17 April 2013.
"Alison Hills is listed as an "Associate to watch""
— Chambers UK, 2018
"Senior associate Alison Hills ‘offers sensible, practical advice’."
— Legal 500, 2017
Episode 13: Pension Benefits for surviving spouses and civil partners
Pension Compass – May 2019
Pensions Compass – March 2019
Hope for those who have lost HMRC protection against the Lifetime Allowance
Are you ready for next month’s auto-enrolment change?
Pensions Compass – January 2019
Pension Increases – an unusual case involving an A-Day amendment
Are you ready for the next auto-enrolment change?
Pensions Compass – September 2018
TPR warnings about master trusts
Pensions Compass – July 2018
Wedlake Bell Appoints Two New Partners
Pension scams and the latest Code of Good Practice
British Airways’ Pensions
GKN offer and the response from the companies schemes’ trustees
GKN and Melrose… the battle continues
Pensions Compass – September 2017
Streamlining how disputes are dealt with