Sarah has been practising pensions law since 2007 and has extensive experience on a wide range of pension scheme issues. She regularly drafts pension scheme documentation and provides advice to trustees and employers on complex scheme issues, such as equalisation and the interpretation of pension scheme provisions. She also has a number of years’ experience as a professional pension scheme trustee, and is able to apply the lessons she has learnt from this role to much of her advisory work.
Sarah is an approachable and conscientious lawyer who puts the needs of her clients at the heart of the advice she provides. Her logical and organised approach to pensions law enables her to guide pension schemes effectively through sometimes complex pensions projects.
Recent work undertaken by Sarah includes:
- advising the trustees of a scheme in relation to the implications of a complex corporate restructuring proposal on the Scheme (including master trust and employer-related investment issues; employer covenant and employer debt implications; and the impact of the proposal on a PPF guarantee);
- drafting a Type A PPF guarantee for a trustee client, which enables less prudent assumptions to be adopted during the scheme specific funding valuation negotiations;
- consideration of GMP equalisation issues for contracted out occupational pension schemes, including the impact on transfers and lump sum benefit payments;
- advising the trustees of a scheme about a proposal to close a scheme to the future accrual of benefits, including the consideration of complex amendments required to the rules of the scheme as a result of the closure;
- drafting a consolidation and update of a pension scheme’s definitive trust deed and rules;
- providing advice to a trade union and its members on aspects of the National Health Service Pension Scheme; and
- providing pension scheme secretarial services to a number of trustee boards, including assistance with maintenance and updating of scheme records, the production and maintenance of scheme governance documents, and preparing trustee meeting packs and minutes; and
- as a professional pension scheme trustee, guiding pension schemes through Pension Protection Fund assessment periods following the insolvency of their sponsoring employer, a role which requires the consideration of challenging legal issues such as equalisation, the identification and rectification of the over and underpayment of benefits to members, and the identification of a scheme’s statutory employers.