“The best pensions team in the UK. Always on point, always accessible and always leading the way. The depth, knowledge and client understanding are world-class.”
Increasingly, the nature of the wrapper around pension savings matters less, as its perceived relevance to members decreases. As a result, our clients look to us to for advice across the full spectrum of workplace and personal pensions. They include DC master trusts and DC and hybrid trust-based schemes, as well as IGCs, insurers, and workplace and personal pension providers. This means we have a broad view of the market, covering both TPR and FCA regulated angles and trust and contract arrangements to help clients make better decisions.
Master trusts are becoming increasingly popular as employers seek out the most practical and cost effective solutions for dealing with their DC employees. At the same time, many of our trustee clients responsible for DC occupational schemes are looking to offer greater flexibility for members through “bolt on” retirement options structures. We act for a wide range of master trusts and also advise employers and trustees on transferring into master trusts. We advise our master trust clients at both the strategic and operational level, depending on what they need. Our advice ranges from input on changes to bespoke and default investment arrangements, platform migrations and strategic oversight matters to routine technical support on emerging issues, significant event reporting and member disputes. So, whether you are considering setting up a master trust or transferring/bolting into one, we can advise both on the detail of the applicable legal requirements and the practicalities of what is needed to achieve a successful outcome.
We advise IGCs and GAAs on how to discharge their duties under COBS. This includes advising on assessing and reporting on value for money, costs and charges disclosure, investment pathways, ESG and communications. We also provide strategic legal input on issues which arise between the IGC and their provider which may require escalation within the provider and possibly to the FCA. We have set up IGCs and work with them and their providers to put in place verification processes to ensure FCA principles and COBS rules requirements are met. We also advise on the governance of IGCs more generally and the documentation of their decision making processes, as well as preparing them for discussions with the FCA. We chair two industry-wide groups for IGCs. The first is for IGCs and their providers who are collaborating on various research programmes around “value for money” and benchmarking. The second is for IGCs only as they consider how to approach their role and the extension to their remit.
We provide strategic advice to workplace and personal pension providers on:
We also give routine legal support on technical issues/challenges arising in relation to existing arrangements, for example on the new transfers legislation and the increase to NMPA. Our holistic view of the regulatory landscape means that we are uniquely placed to deal with personal pension products which are subject to dual FCA and TPR scrutiny. We understand all aspects of the regulatory environment and are a “one stop shop” for clients.