On 20 February 2017, the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) released its Green Paper entitled "Security and Sustainability in Defined Benefit Pension Schemes". The Green Paper explores the current issues facing Defined Benefit (DB) pension schemes and seeks views from members, trustees, employers and other pension professionals on the ways in which confidence might be restored in a system which, although it has worked well for decades, has suffered in recent times due (at least in part) to the negative impact of some high profile cases.
In two related articles, we look at those aspects of the Green Paper which will be of most concern to trustees (please click here to read this article) and also to employers (please click here to read this article).
Based in Gowling WLGs Birmingham office, Liz Gane has been advising clients based in the UK, Europe, USA and Asia on all aspects of UK pensions law for over 15 years.
Liz's clients value her clear analysis of the law, straight forward advice and approachable style. Liz understands that building long-term relationships with her clients and her clients' other advisers is key to providing effective, clear advice that reflects the wider commercial objectives of the trustees and the sponsoring employer.
Liz helps clients not only on the day-to-day running of their pension schemes but also on more strategic projects including:
• advising a German client on the impact of a European-wide strategic reorganisation on its UK-based pension arrangements
• advising trustees on proposals put forward by its Japanese parent to restructure its UK operations
• putting in place charges over properties and parent company guarantees as part of wider funding strategies for schemes
• re-writing a set of outdated scheme documents into plain English and incorporating seven new benefit structures into the Rules
• advising trustees on scheme change proposals, including the closure of schemes to future accrual
• advising corporate groups on winding-up or restructuring of very old, insured pension arrangements in order to facilitate the winding-up and striking off of old and dormant, non-trading companies.
Liz advises schemes ranging in size from a few million pounds to over a billion pounds and her client base includes defined benefit schemes, defined contribution schemes, hybrid schemes and CARE (Career Averaged Revalued Earnings) schemes.
Christopher Stiles is a director based primarily in Birmingham who helps clients to deal with any contentious or non-contentious legal issues that may arise in relation to their pension plans with the greatest possible ease and efficiency.Pensions can be a challenging area for employers, with pension plans that ranging from legacy arrangements that are now closed to accrual, but are still a major liability on the balance sheet, to ongoing plans that are used to reward current employees.
Christopher takes a particular interest in innovative and complex projects including asset-backed funding arrangements, liability management exercises and buy-outs. On the trustee side, Christopher has close ongoing relationships with his trustee clients and helps them through the legal issues they face in running their pension schemes, both the day-to-day problems and larger projects including scheme mergers and wind-ups. He has experience in:
• advising various clients on asset-backed funding structures using a range of assets and innovative structures to improve the employer's cash flow while simultaneously improving the security of scheme benefits;
• helping the trustees of a £1 billion scheme implement a comprehensive funding package with their sponsoring employer;
• negotiating major buy-in contracts with insurance providers;
• helping trustees to resolve disputes with scheme members including Pensions Ombudsman cases;
• advising the trustees of schemes in wind-up to secure benefits with an insurer, terminate the schemes and achieve peace of mind from knowing that all liabilities were correctly secured;
• helping a company to obtain a significant financial saving from the merger of its legacy pension schemes;
• advising the trustees of a £1 billion scheme in relation to implementation of a liability-driven investment strategy.