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Kunjan Sembhi

Senior Associate, Pensions Corporate

About me

Pensions law is a niche area – but it offers a wide scope of work and brings with it the opportunity to meet a variety of clients, across both the private and public sectors. With over 16 years’ experience in the industry, I’ve worked alongside scheme actuaries, consultants, investment managers, trustees and administrators. I’ve also had dealings with the Pensions Regulator and the Pension Protection Fund.

I provide jargon-free, practical advice and support across a range of specialisms including day-to-day running of defined benefit and defined contribution schemes, mergers and acquisitions, auto-enrolment and corporate restructuring. I can also advise on pension scheme mergers and bulk transfers, regulatory changes, support with scheme member complaints and advise trustees.

Outside work, my passions include walking, cooking and spending quality time with friends and family.

Top Tips & FAQs

Discover my top tips

Seek advice early – we’ll be better placed to help guide you the sooner you get us involved

Keep scheme documentation up to date and under regular review

Get to know your lawyer: a good working relationship is an invaluable asset.

My frequently asked questions

What is a statutory employer?
Broadly, an employer is a statutory employer in relation to a defined benefit pension scheme if it employs, or has in the past employed, active members or people eligible to become active members of the scheme and its liability to the scheme has not been discharged. It is important to take advice to identify all such employers as employers that have ceased to participate in the scheme and left the employer group can still be liable to support the scheme if they are not properly discharged under the scheme rules and legislation.

How is a pension scheme valued?
The funding position of a scheme is the difference between the current value of its assets and its liabilities. Different methods can be used to measure the liabilities including buy-out/section 75, (the cost of ‘buying out’ the scheme with an insurance company), technical provisions (the amount needed to pay promised benefits as they arise), PPF/section 179 (the amount needed to meet the level of compensation offered by the Pension Protection Fund) and the accounting method (prescribed by accounting standards to allow for the comparison of liabilities between different companies). Different methods are used for different purposes and produce different results.

Why are conflict issues important?
There may often be a conflict between the trustees’ interest in protecting members’ benefits and the employer’s interest in keeping the costs of the scheme down. Conflicts of interest can become acute where anyone senior from a sponsoring employer is also a trustee. The Pensions Regulator views the management of conflicts of interest as being key to good scheme governance and expects conflicts to be identified, monitored and managed. Not doing so can affect the validity of decision-making. The Pensions Regulator expects trustees to seek legal advice where material conflicts are identified to help ascertain the best way to manage or avoid them.

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