Accreditation

Partner

Pensions

Accreditation

Get in touch

For further advice please contact us for a consultation.

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UK Contact

+44 (0)3330 143 401 info@gunnercooke.com
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Germany Contact

+49 30 220 131-000 centralservices@gunnercooke.de

Expertise

Specialising in pensions law for nearly 30 years, Helen advises employers and trustees on a broad range of pension issues.  Her focus is on medium-to-large schemes and she works regularly with a number of professional trustees.

Alongside her extensive pensions legal experience, Helen is in her second term as Chair of the NHS Pensions Board, appointed by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.  She is also the independent member of the NHS Pension Scheme’s McCloud Implementation Board, dealing with delivery of the large anti-discrimination project arising from the reconfiguration of public service pensions in 2015.

Helen Advises

Helen advises on all aspects of pensions legal, governance and compliance issues, including:

  • Full-service legal adviser to the trustees of more than fifteen medium-to-large defined benefit schemes;
  • Project-based legal adviser to multiple defined benefit scheme trustees and to scheme employers;
  • Advising employers and trustees on pension scheme consolidation, including mergers, commercial consolidator transfers, master trust transfers, collective trusteeship and common investment funds;
  • Advising on funding compliance issues, including recovery plan agreements, contribution deferral arrangements and contingent assets;
  • Advice on scheme benefit issues, including discrimination issues, GMP conversion and equalisation;
  • Advice on scheme change, including benefit structure changes, section introductions and closure to future benefit accruals;
  • Advice on liability management “member option” projects;
  • Scheme buy-ins, and buy-outs, including reviews and negotiations on insurers terms;
  • Advice on compliance for trustees, including data protection issues, Code of Practice compliance and governance;
  • Pensions issues in corporate transactions, restructurings and reorganisation, including Pensions Regulator clearance, negotiation of mitigation packages, apportionment arrangements and the implications of pensions in TUPE transfers;
  • Pension scheme member issues, including member communications and disputes, and Pensions Ombudsman cases;
  • Contentious pensions issues, including judicial review, interpretation issues (Part 8 claims) and professional negligence claims.

Career History

Previous Law Firms

  • Squire Patton Boggs UK LLP ⸺ Partner
  • DLA Piper UK LLP ⸺ Partner
  • Eversheds ⸺ Senior Associate

Memberships and Pensions Industry Highlights

  • Rated as a Leading Individual for Pensions Law in Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession since 2001, and recognised in the Legal 500 since 2002.
  • Association of Pension Lawyers ⸺ member since 1994; Chair of the Midlands Group 2014/15.
  • Expert witness (legal) to the Parliamentary Work & Pensions Select Committee’s Enquiry into the Defined Benefit Pensions White Paper (2018).
  • Thompson Reuters “Stand-out Lawyer” (formerly Acritas ‘Star’ lawyers) ⸺ listed for 2018 – 2021(nominated by clients).
  • Shortlisted for two categories in the Professional Pensions Women in Pensions Awards 2019 (Mentor of the Year and Role Model of the Year) and for Pensions Lawyer of the Year in 2021.

Education

  • Nottingham University ⸺ LLB
  • Nottingham Trent University ⸺ Law Society Finals
  • Aston University ⸺ Diploma in Psychology

Other

  • Joint Vice-Chair of Governors and Chair of Audit Committee – Birmingham Metropolitan College
  • Governor of the Royal National College for the Blind

Get in touch

For further advice please contact us for a consultation.

-

UK Contact

+44 (0)3330 143 401 info@gunnercooke.com
-

Germany Contact

+49 30 220 131-000 centralservices@gunnercooke.de