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Linklaters’ pensions practice is one of the UK’s leading pensions teams, consistently recognised by clients and legal directories as top tier. We provide high-quality advice and deliver innovative solutions to a diverse range of clients. As a full-service law firm, we also provide our pensions clients with advice which is comprehensive, practical and robust and enables them to navigate through a demanding pensions legal landscape.

What we can advise on

We have extensive experience in all areas of DC pensions law, including advising on:

  • all regulatory and compliance issues including master trust authorisation; 
  • governance issues;
  • investment and ESG issues;
  • plain English drafting and rule amendments;
  • scheme design and managing change;
  • transfers to master trusts and DC consolidation; 
  • auto-enrolment duties; and
  • day-to-day housekeeping

Our experience

Advisory: we advised

  1. A major UK life insurer on the establishment of its commercial master trust including advising on structure, governance and the authorisation application.
  2. A number of trustees of non-associated multi-employer schemes on the application of the Pension Schemes Act 2017 including on an “existential” master trust authorisation application
  3. A number of master trusts in determining their optimum governance structure for initial authorisation. Liaising with the Pensions Regulator on the application of the legislation to various pension arrangements.
  4. Advising a major UK insurer on a Part VII transfer of policies across multiple master trusts in respect of in excess of a million members.
  5. A major retailer on the set up of an at retirement drawdown option for members with the Fidelity Master Trust in 2021. 
  6. A US multinational aerospace business on the consolidation of a number of group personal pensions (GPPs) into a single arrangement with a large UK master trust. Our advice covered a wide range of matters, including the harmonisation of DC contribution structures and benefits, grandfathering provisions and member consultation requirements.  
  7. A major business and IT services provider on the merger of two major UK master trusts. Our advice covered a wide range of pensions matters, including member-borne charges, death in service processes and employer balance of powers matters. 
  8. A large Canadian institutional investor on its DC auto-enrolment and DC governance requirements in connection with the establishment of its London branch. We continue to advise on a wide-range of auto-enrolment matters, including for a number of global banking institutions on international postings for employees ordinarily working in the UK. 
  9. Experian on the introduction of DC flexible access options, including the implementation of multiple in-scheme uncrystallised funds pension lump sums (UFPLS).
  10. Formula 1 racing team on various auto-enrolment obligations in relation to the F1 cost cap which limits the amounts a team can spend each calendar year.

Transfers to Master Trusts: we advised

  1. Trustee of AkzoNobel Benefit Builder on a bulk transfer of DC assets to the Mercer Master Trust in March 2021, structured as a split transfer. The transaction is intended to allow many present and former AkzoNobel employees to benefit from the economies of scale and additional flexibility that a master trust can offer.
  2. Trustee for a major multinational IT company on an £800 million bulk transfer to a UK master trust.
  3. Trustee of the Experian Retirement Savings Plan on a £400 million bulk transfer to the Legal & General Master Trust completed in March 2022, including advice on bespoke auto-enrolment arrangements and services agreement between the company and the master trust.
  4. Trustee of Société Générale Pension Plan on a bulk transfer of assets from the Scheme’s DC section to the Aegon Master Trust completed in June 2021. This was a multi-tranche transfer for approximately £385 million of assets and for over 4,500 members, including advice on pre-funding arrangements, GDPR and other governance matters.
  5. Trustee of the One Stop Stores Pension Scheme on a two-stage c. £70 million bulk transfer of assets to the Legal & General Master Trust in the last quarter of 2020. We advised on the full range of legal issues for this project, including fund mapping, pre-funding matters and data protection.
  6. Agilent Technologies LDA UK Limited Pension Scheme on a £70 million bulk transfer to WTW’s LifeSight Master Trust in 2021 and subsequent wind-up of the Scheme. 
  7. Trustees of major retailer in relation to various DC and master trust matters, including the “sweep out” of the scheme’s DC section deferred members into the Legal & General Master Trust and various DC compliance matters. 

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