James is an Associate Director in Osborne Clarke's pensions practice, having joined the team in 2015. James advises both employers and trustees on a broad range of pensions issues.
He has experience in drafting consolidations, advising on mergers and bulk transfers, advising on closures and working on complex funding deals involving the Pensions Regulator. He also has also advised on several liability management exercises – including PIEs, ETVs, trivial commutation exercises and buy-ins / buy-outs. On the defined contribution side, James has recently advised on several bulk transfers to DC master trusts.
James has particular expertise in advising on the pensions aspects of distressed restructurings – both trustee and corporate side. This has included advising on moral hazard issues, above-PPF compromises, RAAs, pre-pack administrations and CVAs.
He is a regular speaker at industry-wide events, and has recently presented to the Welsh Actuarial Society on GMP equalisation, and at the APL Benefit Redesign and Liability Management Course on pensions related restructurings.
Helping you succeed in tomorrow's world
Outside of pensions, James has an interest in blockchain technology, and how cryptocurrencies may shape (and disrupt) the current financial services sector.
Trustees of a large utility company's pension scheme
Advised the trustees on the sale of an employer's subsidiary for over £3bn, helping to negotiate a significant payment into the scheme to account for the loss of covenant and in anticipation of a dividend being paid to shareholders.
Train operating company
Advised on the buy-out of the company's pension liabilities in the Railways Pension Scheme with an insurance company.
Trustees of a pharmaceutical company's pension scheme
Advised on the bulk transfer of the DC section of the pension scheme to a master trust arrangement, including finding a novel way to deal with the loss of "protected tax free cash" for members.
Advised on a complex closure of the company's final salary scheme to accrual, which ended up being effected via amendments to employees' employment contracts. This included advising the client on how to engage and negotiate with the pension trustees, Trade Unions and the employees' themselves.