Pensions Partner, London
"I am a pensions specialist advising all participants in the sector. In a fast-changing regulatory and commercial landscape with constant changes to pension schemes, I offer clients clear, commercially focused, jargon-free and pragmatic advice, integrating well with their own teams.”
Education and qualifications
Sarah advises corporates, trustees, insurers and other parties on the full range of pensions law-related issues. This includes drafting pension scheme documentation, advising on scheme funding and investment issues, in particular management issues (IMAs, pooled funds and ISDAs), pension scheme legal compliance and governance issues.
Sarah has advised extensively on all types of de-risking projects related to pension schemes, primarily buy-ins, buy-outs and longevity swaps. This is an area likely to be of greater importance to corporates, trustees and their pension schemes, with the prospective updates to the scheme funding regime. Sarah wrote a “De-risking Jargon Buster” for the Linklaters website.
Sarah is well versed in liability management exercises, whether sponsor- or trustee-led, including enhanced transfer value exercises and pension increase exchange options, including tax issues.
Sarah is a prime mover in the Women in Pensions network, arranging Linklaters’ sponsorship and ensuring that the network provides full support for women in the sector.
Sarah has advised sponsors and trustees on a wide range of pensions matters. These include advising:
- the trustee of a pension scheme on entering into a £5bn longevity swap
- the takeover of AA plc and the issues associated with the group’s pension arrangements
- the trustee of the Mineworkers Pension Scheme on changes to the scheme in respect of an agreement with the Government
- the trustees of the 3i Group Pension Plan on entering into a buy-in with Legal & General Assurance Society Limited covering £650m of the scheme’s liabilities
- the trustee of the Marks & Spencer Pension Scheme on umbrella buy-ins with Aviva, Phoenix Life, and Pension Insurance Corporation (these cover a total of £2.9bn of the scheme’s liabilities)
- Rothesay life on pension bulk annuity policies
- the trustees of the pension plans of Goss Graphic Systems on the restructuring of the employer via a creditors voluntary arrangement and the plans’ entry into the Pension Protection Fund
- a merger of three pension schemes including the novation of various investments
- Kier on its entry into the Aegon Master Trust and the transfers into it from its existing arrangements
Sarah has in the past offered support to the Net Pay Action Group, which addresses unfair impacts on low earners.
Sarah speaks regularly at industry events, contributes to the Linklaters Pensions blog and contributes articles on relevant topics. These include:
- “Legal implications of longevity risk”, PLSA Investment Conference, March 2021, with Duncan Barber
- speaking on de-risking, PLSA Investment Conference, March 2020 with Claire Petheram
- “Everything you wanted to know about buy-ins, buy-outs and longevity swaps but were afraid to ask”, the Pensions and Benefits UK Conference, 2019 with Lorna Tennent
- “Legal aspects on scheme consolidation”, PLSA Investment Conference, March 2018 with Claire Petheram and John Sheppard
- presenting on a webinar alongside representatives from Rothesay Life and Lincoln Pensions on “What’s the right answer to the ‘endgame’ for your scheme”, September 2020
- writing and recording a podcast for Pensions Age on “De-risking options for pension schemes”, July 2020
- contributing to the Raconteur report in The Sunday Times on “Why it pays to de-risk pension schemes”, September 2020
- contributing to Rothesay Life’s The Journey to Buy-out, July 2020