Helen Ball

Partner

About

Helen is a specialist pensions lawyer advising employers and trustees on all aspects of pensions law. Since joining Sackers in 2000, she has built up a reputation for providing practical and commercial advice, particularly with regard to complex and technical legal queries.

Helen has a particular interest in new legislation, regulatory and policy development. As head of Defined Contribution she has been involved in some of the cutting edge work completed by the firm over the last few years.

Recent DC experience includes:

  • Advising master trusts and DC schemes on DC governance and TPR’s DC Code of Practice
  • Establishing new DC occupational pension schemes, preparing their rules, member communications and third party contracts
  • Negotiating administration arrangements with third party suppliers
  • Advising on statutory money purchase illustrations, member booklets, pre-retirement communications and scheme websites
  • Advising Independent Governance Committees (IGCs), including the terms of appointment for IGC members
  • Advising on the use of reserve account/surplus assets in DC schemes
  • Advising on changes to retirement options, including flexible retirement and partial transfer policy
  • Introducing changes to benefits such as auto-enrolment, reductions in future service accrual, and bulk transfers/scheme mergers
  • Advising on compliance matters, such as late payment of contributions, failure to issue benefit statements on time, failure of administrators to provide annual “compliance” certificates
  • Removing ill health and death benefits from registered occupational schemes and replacing them with benefits in an unregistered group life policy
  • Advising on investment changes, moves to provider platforms and default fund strategy changes.

DB experience:

  • Advising on benefit changes, scheme transfers and mergers
  • Advising trustees and employers on valuation discussions and their related work with TPR
  • Advising on switching from a trustee board to a sole corporate trustee
  • Advising on the introduction of partial transfers and the prevention of transfer scams
  • Advising on DB policy and regulatory changes.

Memberships and Qualifications

Membership of professional bodies:
Association of Pension Lawyers (Full Member)

Money Purchase Pension Forum


Career history

Qualified: 1998, England & Wales

Pensions experience since: 1998

Joined Sackers: 2000, Associate: 2004

Joined partnership/LLP: 2006

Employers: DLA, Leeds (1996-1998)
Eversheds, Leeds (1998-2000)


Academic history

University/College:

Somerville College, University of Oxford (1992-1995)
College of Law, York (1995-1996)

Degree: BA Jurisprudence (Law) and Legal Practice Course


Further Information

Testimonials:

  • Ranked lawyer in Legal 500 2016
  • Ranked lawyer in Legal 500 2015

Speaking/Publications:

Helen has spoken at the PLSA Annual Conference, PLSA Hot Topics Forum, the Professional Pensions Show, Money Purchase Pension Forum and participated in the Professional Pensions DC Roundtable and Pensions Expert’s DC debates.

Helen has written many articles for publication in Professional Pensions, Pensions Expert, Employee Benefits, and HR Director on various DC subjects. She is also regularly quoted on topical pensions issues in various trade journals.


Expertise

Defined contribution (DC)

DC governance

Master trusts

Retirement flexibilities

Independent Governance Committees

DC investment


Latest News & Media

Helen Ball discusses master trust supervision in Employee Benefits

Helen Ball comments on risk and diversification in Pensions Expert's Q3 DC Debate

Helen Ball comments on importance of involving lawyers in communications in Pensions Age

Don’t underestimate the importance of involving lawyers in communications, says Sackers

Helen Ball discusses DC key trends in Professional Pensions roundtable

Sackers comments on Salvus master trust consolidation deal

Sackers comments on the challenges for DC scheme trustees

Sackers comments on Master trust code of practice

Sackers comments: Today's trustee has plenty of food for thought

Sackers comments: What do employers need to consider regarding master trust authorisation?


Latest Knowledge

DC briefing – October 2018

Master Trust Supervision and Enforcement Policy

DC briefing - August 2018

DC hot topic: Member Communications - keep it legal!

A simplified process for DC scheme consolidation

DC briefing - March 2018

Occupational Pension Schemes (Master Trusts) Regulations 2018 - Sackers' response to consultation

Disclosure of costs, charges and investments in DC occupational pension schemes - Sackers' response to consultation

The Occupational Pension Schemes (Preservation of Benefits and Charges and Governance) (Amendment) Regulations 2018

DC briefing - October 2017