Partner

Pensions

Get in touch

For further advice please contact us for a consultation.

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

Partner

Pensions

Expertise

Helen has been a specialist pensions lawyer for over 25 years, dealing with all aspects of pensions advice to trustees and corporates.  She advises on schemes of all sizes, and works closely with a number of professional trustees.

As well as advising on governance and compliance for schemes, Helen has many years’ experience of advising on pensions issues in corporate transactions and reorganisation, including Pensions Regulator clearance, negotiation of mitigation packages, apportionment arrangements and the implications of pensions on TUPE transfers.

In recent years, Helen has worked on many scheme mergers (including high value mergers) and demergers, buy-ins, buy-outs and other liability management projects.  She advises trustees on the terms of scheme investment arrangements and contingent assets.

Helen has worked with trustees on Pensions Ombudsman disputes, judicial review issues and other contentious matters.

Helen is Chair of the NHS Pensions Board, appointed by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.  The NHS Pensions Board is the statutory body responsible for governance of the NHS Pension Scheme.

Helen Advises

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

  • Pension scheme trustees, particularly for medium to large-sized schemes;
  • Advice on funding compliance issues, including recovery plan agreements, contribution deferral arrangements and contingent assets;
  • Advice on scheme mergers and demergers, including defined benefit mergers, and bulk transfers of defined contribution arrangements into master trusts;
  • Advice on scheme benefit issues, including equalisation, GMP equalisation and age discrimination issues;
  • Advice on scheme change, including wholesale benefit structure changes and closure to future benefit accruals;
  • Scheme buy-ins, and buy-outs, including reviews and negotiations on insurers terms;
  • Advice on compliance for trustees, including data protection issues 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 the Midlands 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).
  • Acritas “Star” lawyers – listed for 2018, 2019 and 2020 (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).

Education

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

Other

  • Guardian of the Standard of Wrought Plate in Birmingham (member of the governing body of the Birmingham Assay Office) and member of the Appointments and Remuneration Committee of the Birmingham Assay Office. Trustee of the Birmingham Assay Office Pension Scheme.
  • Member of Council of Birmingham Metropolitan College

Get in touch

For further advice please contact us for a consultation.

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