I work in pensions law as part of the corporate team, specialising in finding commercially effective solutions to pension problems, drafting scheme documentation and advising on transactions involving pension schemes.
I enjoy building long-term relationships with clients and helping them to respond successfully to the demands, challenges and opportunities that they face in the world of pensions. I pride myself on being pragmatic, accessible and proactive, and I help businesses, organisations and pension scheme trustees to understand and meet their legal obligations to the public and private sector pension schemes that they operate.
Clients include employers, trustees, pension consultants, actuaries and administrators that operate throughout the country and across a wide range of business sectors. I’ll always explain issues to clients in terms that they can easily understand, and in such a way that they will have the confidence to make informed decisions.
I also help clients keep a forward look of key legal changes, current issues and developments in pensions so that they can think strategically when planning pension scheme business.
Outside of work, I’ve maintained a keen interest in theatre since reading English at Oxford University. I also enjoy hiking and have completed a number of long-distance trails across the UK and Europe.
Be conversant with the scheme and relevant statutory provisions and always act in accordance with them. Appreciate when you need to employ the services of others to ensure the decisions and functions are properly executed.
Bear in mind that, in the Pension Regulator’s view, a good relationship with an adviser is one where you feel comfortable in requesting clarification and confident in challenging advice that you’re unsure about.
Where the governing provisions of your scheme allow you to delegate a power and you do so, you remain accountable for the actions taken. It is important that you establish, operate and maintain adequate internal control mechanisms to monitor the performance of the person acting for you.
How should a scheme in deficit be treated when dealing with events that may impact on the scheme?
A scheme in deficit on any basis should be treated in the same way as any other material creditor. Managing any conflicts, the parties should work together to understand the nature and the impact of the event and the appropriate mitigation for it, supported by independent professional advice where appropriate.
How should we identify and manage risks when developing scheme funding plans?
Where appropriate, the Pensions Regulator expects professional independent analysis and advice to be sought in relation to the employer covenant, investment and funding strands to support decision-making and expects you to be in a position to be able to explain decisions based on the interplay of the different information and advice strands you have received.
How can we reduce the prospect of a discretionary decision being successfully challenged?
Established legal principles require you to take account of all relevant factors and ignore all irrelevant ones and not arrive at a perverse decision. Powers should be used only for their proper purpose and not to achieve some other purpose. You should take advice on technical or legal matters where appropriate. You will usually be entitled to rely on that advice, provided it is properly sought and given and you have no reason to believe that it might be incorrect.