Pensions

Our Practice

The pensions team at Simmons & Simmons acts for both companies and trustees in relation to all aspects of pension schemes, including establishment, mergers, winding up and ongoing compliance with legislative and regulatory requirements.

We also have a strong pensions litigation team dealing with all types of pension and trust related claims. We advise a number of leading insurance companies in relation to the development of pension products.  

Experience

For reasons of confidentiality and commercial sensitivity, we are unable to  disclose the names of clients, but examples of our experience are listed below:

  • advising the trustees of a pension scheme on the merger into that scheme of two further pension schemes. The merged scheme, with assets of over £2bn, has some 30,000 members and pensioners. We continue to act for the trustees and, since the merger was completed, we have been heavily involved in post merger work including new scheme rules and explanatory literature

  • advising the German subsidiary of a multinational South African based group of companies on the restructuring of its pension programme pursuant to recent changes in German tax, insurance and social security law

  • advising a UK government body on a public private partnership. This involved the transfer of some 11,500 former civil servants from the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme to a newly created scheme

  • advising in relation to the employment status of certain independent contractors for a Hong-Kong based client and the resultant need for that client to comply with its obligations under the Mandatory Provident Fund Ordinances

  • advising in relation to the implementation of an international pension plan for employees of a multinational company for its employees worldwide. The plan was established in the Channel Islands for maximum tax efficiency

  • advising on the set up of a transitional pension scheme and pension fund in relation to the transition of a "VUT-regeling" to an early retirement scheme in The Netherlands

  • Representing a UK employer on the successful defence of a multiple Pension Ombudsman claim that the employer had made fraudulent misrepresentations when the employees transferred to its scheme from another following a takeover a few years earlier

  • advising the trustees of a UK occupational pension scheme in taking appropriate steps to ensure that the employer was unable to carry out its threat to wind up the scheme in deficit

  • advising a Dutch pension fund in an arbitration procedure dealing with the question of who owns the surplus after an MBO

  • advising a major UK corporate in High Court proceedings seeking rectification of the terms of its pension scheme

  • advising the trustees of the pension arrangements, which were established for the former finance director of a large multinational, in their claims against the company

  • advising the Portuguese subsidiary of an international bank on the impact of a new employees' benefits scheme in relation to the existing pension scheme

  • acting as Italian legal advisor for an investment company in Paris.  This involved assisting the investment managers in drafting and negotiating agreements with Italian pension funds for the management of pension fund assets

  • advising two oil companies on the merger of their Dutch pension funds

  • advice concerning the modification of an existing pension plan in the light of the new law on private pensions (Law Vandenbroucke)

  • advising the Portuguese subsidiary of a major insurance company on the impact and coordination of pre retirement agreements in relation to its pension scheme

  • advising an international company, which has resolved to close down its factory in the Netherlands, on a number of pension issues, including exemption from the compulsory sector pension scheme, termination of the re insurance agreement, liability with respect to the deficit, indexation of pensions and liquidation of the company pension fund

  • advising on the liquidation of a company pension fund and transfer of assets into a group insurance plan with a third party insurance company within the framework of the complete shut down of the company.

Specialist Expertise

The pensions group at Simmons & Simmons deals with all aspects of pension arrangements, including:

  • the establishment, revision, amalgamation or winding up of schemes
  • advice on trustees' powers, duties and statutory obligations
  • investment management agreements and common investment funds
  • acquisition and disposal of companies and assets
  • predator protection
  • employment contracts/dismissal
  • extraction of surplus
  • pension scheme deficits
  • recovery of misappropriated scheme assets
  • insurance products: personal pension plans and offshore arrangements
  • advice to independent trustees
  • contentious aspects of pensions, including rectification claims, actions to recover overpayments and claims involving professional advisers.