Pensions advice for employers and trustees

As pensions law and regulation have become more complex, and funding deficits increased, employers and pension schemes’ trustees have needed to adapt to new challenges. This means finding new solutions to often complex issues. Expert legal advice will help you manage schemes through both normal circumstances and more challenging times.

Our clients recognise our expertise. They include billion-pound schemes such as Transport for London, Imperial Tobacco and BAE Systems, right down to schemes with assets of several million pounds. Whatever the size of your organisation, and whatever your needs, we will provide you with strong commercial and practical advice, backed by highly-experienced partners.

"What's most important is that they’re always available, they’re able to meet the deadlines that trustees need them to meet and they also have a good understanding of the diplomacy required around their role."

Pensions Client, Chambers and Partners

How we can help you

Our work covers all aspects of pension law on both the employer and trustee side.

Our work for employers

We help employers manage the financial risks posed by their past pension liabilities, as well as structuring good work-based pensions for current employees.

The support we offer includes:

  • scheme closures
  • amending pension benefits
  • risk management exercises (such as enhanced transfer value and PIE projects)
  • court applications for rectification and other directions
  • Pensions Regulator investigations
  • scheme mergers and other pensions consolidation projects
Our work for trustees

We help trustees comply with their duties and cope with problems that arise along the way.

The support we offer includes:

  • benefit changes
  • scheme closures
  • compliance
  • trustee training
  • refinancing
  • restructuring
  • High Court litigation
  • member complaint resolution
  • risk management projects
  • buy-ins and buy-outs
  • documentation services
  • member communications

Independent trustee services

Appointing independent trustees is an important part of making sure a pension scheme is secure for its users and is governed correctly.

Open Trustees is an independent subsidiary company of Osborne Clarke that operates primarily from our offices in Bristol and London. The team provides professional independent trusteeship and governance services to occupational pension schemes. They specialise in both sole and joint trustee appointments and can help you manage schemes that are: ongoing; closed; in wind up; or in a Pension Protection Fund assessment period following employer insolvency.

Recognised as one of the best in the country, the team is accredited by the Association of Professional Pension Trustees (APPT). All team members have long-standing experience and have been advising on occupational pension schemes for at least 15 years.

Our pensions advisory lawyers

Our well-resourced team operates out of all three of our UK offices, providing support to our clients nationwide on all aspects of pensions law. Our service is partner-led and focuses on guiding our clients through complex issues by providing practical and timely advice with clear recommendations. 

Experience

Defence and security equipment supplier

Advising defence and security equipment supplier in relation to: (i) the closure of its two (£1 billion+) DB pension schemes to the future accrual of benefits; and (ii) the adoption of a single trustee board across its two DB pension schemes and its DC pension scheme.

Hammerson Group Management Limited Pension and Life Assurance Scheme trustees

Advising the Hammerson Group Management Limited Pension and Life Assurance Scheme trustees on a £90m buy-in with Just Retirement Limited and the subsequent buy-out and wind-up processes.

Public sector pension schemes

We have a market-leading national public sector pensions practice, which focuses on the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) but also covers all other public sector pension schemes. We have been advising LGPS administering authorities since 1997.

Maybe Pension Scheme trustees

Advising the Maybe Pension Scheme trustees on a £94 million buy-in with Just Retirement and the subsequent buy-out and wind-up processes.

Closure of defined benefit schemes

Advised both trustees and employers on proposals for the closure of defined benefit schemes to future accrual, including drafting communications, providing project management, and assisting in employee presentations.

Pension scheme

Advised on an innovative funding mechanism for a pension scheme with a substantial deficit. The outcome included the provision of contingent security in the form of surety bonds taken out with various insurers - a first for a major United Kingdom pension scheme.

Major European insurance company

Advised a major European insurance company on the apportionment of its pension scheme liabilities prior to a restructuring, in order to allow for the setting up of a service company.

Global communication company

Advised a global communication company on the closure of its defined benefit scheme and the implementation of subsequent liability management exercises, including an enhanced transfer value exercise.

Global electronics business

Advised the trustees of a global electronics business's pension scheme on negotiations surrounding the triennial valuation and connected sponsoring employer restructuring issues, including putting in place PPF compliant mortgages.

Responding to a notice from the UK Pensions Regulator

Advised the employer of a pension scheme on how to respond to a warning notice issued by the UK Pensions Regulator, by which it stated an intention to impose a level of pension contributions on the employer.

Connect with one of our experts