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Pensions & Employee Benefits
Pension matters have never been so challenging. Our Pensions & Employee Benefits team uses its detailed knowledge of pensions law to tackle issues around affordability, business survival, HR policy and retirement savings options.
Radical upheavals in the pensions industry – coupled with rapidly changing legislation and case law – present difficult choices for employers, trustees and scheme members.
That is why our legal advice is always constructive and pragmatic with a recognition that the decisions made today will have an impact on employers’ costs, scheme management and members’ lives for many years to come.
It has never been more important to offer our pensions clients dedicated expertise from a range of legal disciplines. We work in combination with the Finance team (on the establishment of security structures), the Insolvency & Restructuring team (on distressed employer restructurings and scheme entry to the Pension Protection Fund) and the Commercial Property and Intellectual Property teams (on alternative asset funding structures) as well as the Family team (on matrimonial pension issues).
When it comes to Employee Benefits, we advise a range of clients on how they can maximise their reward and retention policies in a tax efficient way – key to which is an understanding of our clients’ commercial objectives. We also have particular expertise in advising on the disguised remuneration framework and establishing Enterprise Management Incentive Plans.
- Advising a Scandinavian parent company on the Pension Regulator's powers and jurisdiction.
- Advising non-UK residents on the tax efficient transfer of their UK pension benefits to various jurisdictions.
- Advising a Channel Island trustee company on its international pension offering.
- Establishing Enterprise Management Incentive Plans for a number of SMEs.
- Advising a Guernsey based trustee company on the disguised remuneration regime and its historic EBT arrangements.
- Advising a Swedish parent company on its UK share incentive arrangements.
Managing Pension Scheme Liabilities – the options
Many Sponsoring Employers and Trustees continue to look at ways of controlling defined benefit pension scheme liabilities to reduce cost, to reduce volatility and to manage risks. For regulatory reasons… Read more →
Pensions Ready Reckoner – March 2018
Clive Weber, Partner, Pensions & Employee Benefits Team. Please contact Clive with any queries on this Ready Reckoner. PARLIAMENT Topic Bills Finance Bill 2018 Key provisions to counter… Read more →
Barclays ring-fencing proposals sanctioned by the High Court
The High Court has ruled that Barclays’ pensions proposals will not hold up its ring-fencing plans, in a decision that considered widely relevant issues of restructuring defined benefit pension schemes… Read more →
GKN and Melrose… the battle continues
In my last Pensions Compass article (17 January 2018) I wrote about the pensions issues surrounding a hostile bid made by Melrose, a turnaround company, in respect of the proposed… Read more →
The New Debt Regulations – Is the ability to defer section 75 debts as good as it sounds?
Background Employers have faced the prospect of having to pay their statutory debt under section 75 of the Pensions Act 1995 when their last active member of a defined benefit… Read more →
British Airways’ Pensions
British Airways’ pension arrangements are in the news yet again. After much-publicised High Court proceedings over indexation of pension increases under the Airways Pension Scheme (essentially relating to the trustee’s… Read more →
Welcome to the September 2017 edition of the Pensions Compass. Summer has well and truly disappeared and autumn beckons! The world has gone GDPR crazy, and we’ve decided to give… Read more →
Streamlining how disputes are dealt with
As the legal adviser to many trustee boards and many employer bodies alike we see it as part of our job to help keep our clients away from complaints and… Read more →
Pensions Ready Reckoner – September 2017
Clive Weber, Partner, Pensions & Employee Benefits Team. Please contact Clive with any queries on this Ready Reckoner. PARLIAMENT Topic Key Acts of Parliament Finance Bill 2017 The following provisions… Read more →
British Airways Pension Scheme Trustees are Flying High!
The High Court recently ruled on an application from British Airways challenging the actions of the pension scheme’s trustees regarding the payment of pension increases. Historically any attempt by the… Read more →
Pensions Regulator cleans up Hoover’s pension mess
A restructuring proposal by Hoover Limited in relation to its largest defined benefit pension scheme, The Hoover (1987) Pension Scheme (the 1987 Scheme), was approved by the Pensions Regulator (tPR)… Read more →
High Court allows appeal against the Pensions Ombudsman
Police and Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester v Butterworth and Anor 2016 Rewinding back B was employed by the Greater Manchester Police Authority (the “Authority“) and was a member of… Read more →
Protecting a bankrupt’s pension: Horton v Henry, Court of Appeal 7/10/2016
Good news for debtors but disappointing for creditors: the Court of Appeal has decided, in its recent Horton v Henry decision, that a bankrupt individual’s pension rights cannot be exercised… Read more →
Parliamentary Select Committee enquiry into defined benefit pension schemes: Show-stopper or damp-squib?
Introduction Not content with its Report on the BHS Scheme (issued on the 20 July 2016) the Parliamentary Select Committee (the Committee) announced on 8 August 2016 a wide ranging… Read more →
BHS – The latest score between Philip Green and the Pensions Regulator
Summary of the parliamentary inquiry Since our last update on the BHS saga, in the July 2016 edition of Pensions Compass, the parliamentary inquiry and public sessions run by the… Read more →
Brexit – Implications for pension schemes
Much of EU source UK pensions law is sensible and at most should need minor adjustment. Broadly speaking the following areas are in this category (but see below re GMPs… Read more →
Duties of Attorneys under a Lasting Power of Attorney (‘LPA’) for Financial Affairs
1. When does an Attorney’s authority begin? An LPA cannot be used until it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (‘OPG’). If the LPA contains a… Read more →
BIM – what is it and why we think it is yet to be fully embraced
Building Information Modelling (or “BIM”) has had a lot of press recently thanks to the Government’s decision to use ‘Level 2’ BIM on all centrally procured public sector projects from… Read more →
BHS – the “pensions” tail wagging the dog
Justin McGilloway discusses the extent of the pensions problem in the case of former high street giant BHS. The well-publicised BHS debacle continues to grip the country. The former high… Read more →
Fixed Protection 2016 and how it works when a Pension Sharing Order is awarded
What is Fixed Protection 2016? Fixed Protection 2016 (“FP 2016”) came into force on 6 April 2016, as the new standard lifetime allowance has been reduced from £1.25 million to… Read more →
Secondary Annuity Market – pipedream or reality?
Stuck with an annuity or deferred annuity? Don’t worry, help is close at hand. From April 2017, you can sell your right to income for a capital amount! This is… Read more →
The end of the contracting-out era
Last month saw the end of contracting-out, a creature which was introduced in 1978 to enable employers to integrate their scheme benefits with those offered by the State. It is… Read more →
Q&A with Justin McGilloway, Head of Pensions & Employee Benefits
When did you first become interested in the law? At school. I took part in a mock trial at the local Crown Court when I was 15. I successfully defended… Read more →
New PPF requirements will cause trustees a real(isable) headache
Trustees have until midnight on 31 March 2016 to re-certify existing contingent assets and certify new contingent assets, but given the changes to this year’s guidance, can trustees be certain… Read more →
“Now, where did I put that deficit?” Company balance sheets and underfunded pension schemes…
The requirements of Financial Reporting Standard 102 (FRS102) could have a dramatic, yet largely unforeseen impact on the accounts of corporate groups where an underfunded final salary pension scheme still… Read more →
This miscellany of proposed changes from April 2016 is a can of worms…
“Miscellaneous” amendment regulations are often tidying up exercises and of no great consequence. However the DWP’s recent consultation on its proposed Miscellaneous Amendments Regulations 2016 are a different kettle of… Read more →
PPF Levy Determination: Stability is the goal
The Pension Protection Fund’s “levy determination” for the 2016-17 levy year has now been published. A key feature is the PPF’s recognition of the importance of stability as regards amounts… Read more →
Pension Ombudsman lays down the law to, ahem, “The Law”
The Pensions Ombudsman has upheld a complaint against the Police and Crime Commissioner of South Wales, on the basis that it had a duty of care as an employer to… Read more →
A green light for pension trustees to assign their section 75 debts?
We write to update you on the recent High Court decision in Singer & Friedlander v Corbett which considered the circumstances in which a section 75 debt could be assigned and which… Read more →
"The ‘very good’ team at Wedlake Bell LLP ‘always gives clients proactive information about legislative changes’, and provides ‘very practical advice’."
— Legal 500, 2017
"The team is led by the ‘very responsive’ Justin McGilloway, who has been advising the trustees of the Steamship Insurance Management Services Pension Scheme on various regulatory matters. McGilloway also acted for the trustees of the Telereal Pension Plan regarding scheme funding and closure to future accrual during a complex valuation process."
— Legal 500, 2017
"Clive Weber acted for the trustees of the Buhler Pension Scheme on the sale of the employer to another company."
— Legal 500, 2017
"Senior associate Alison Hills ‘offers sensible, practical advice’."
— Legal 500, 2017