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 on DC governance and the Pensions Regulator’s DC Code of Practice
- advising employers and trustees on transferring groups of DC members into master trusts
- advising on retirement signposting to master trusts
- advising on Covid related queries, such as the closure of property funds to investment
- advising on investment changes, moves to provider platforms and default fund strategy changes
- negotiating administration arrangements
- advising on statutory money purchase illustrations, member booklets, communications
- advising on scheme websites and modelling tools
- 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
- advising on tax issues, such as the lifetime allowance and annual allowance
- introducing changes to benefits such as auto-enrolment, reductions in future service accrual
- advising on compliance, late payment of contributions, failure to issue benefit statements on time
- removing ill health and death benefits from occupational schemes
- establishing new DC occupational pension schemes
- winding up DC schemes
- advising Independent Governance Committees (IGCs).
DB experience includes advising on:
- benefit changes, scheme transfers and mergers
- valuation discussions, related covenant and funding negotiations
- switching from a trustee board to a sole corporate trustee
- the introduction of partial transfers and the prevention of transfer scams
- DB policy and regulatory changes.
Memberships and Qualifications
Membership of professional bodies:
Association of Pension Lawyers (Full Member)
Money Purchase Pension Forum
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)
Somerville College, University of Oxford (1992-1995)
College of Law, York (1995-1996)
Degree: BA Jurisprudence (Law) and Legal Practice Course
- Ranked lawyer in Legal 500 2016
- Ranked lawyer in Legal 500 2015
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.