Pensions - London (Firms)
Basic facts about the department
- 10 partners
- 24 associates
What the team is known for Sizeable team with experience in areas such as scheme mergers and demergers, investment management, and drafting scheme documentation. Frequently works closely with the firm's financial services and life, pensions and longevity risk teams.
Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "The team is very helpful and personable. Nothing's too much trouble." "CMS is ambitious and energetic."
Bench strength: "An incredibly strong team."
What's new? New senior associate recruits in the form of Gillian McGrath from Travers Smith and Caroline Smith from Freshfields strengthen the team's offering in pensions. Dominic Harris has been promoted to partner.
Work highlights Advised the trustees of the Aon Retirement Plan on a sectionalised merger with six other schemes, creating a single scheme with around £3 billion assets.
Worked in conjunction with the firm's financial services team to help the trustees of the Northumbrian Water Pension Scheme to set up complex investment arrangements, involving the use of over-the-counter derivatives.
Mark Atkinson is recognised as one of London's leading pensions experts. Sources describe him as "top drawer," "superb" and "very commercial."
Mark Grant is "adept at finding creative solutions," enthuse clients. He is head of the firm's pensions ombudsman unit.
Simon Pilcher is reported to be "extremely flexible and helpful, with a commercial attitude." He recently advised the trustees of the Selfridges Pension Scheme on the implementation of a complex asset-backed funding structure for the scheme.
Neil Smith acts for clients such as the trustees of the Aon Retirement Plan and the trustees of the Northumbrian Water Pension Scheme. Commentators state that he is "very authoritative in his advice."
Peter Coyne rises up the rankings this year, having received excellent feedback from peers and clients. He recently advised Royal Mail on a complex matter involving the harmonisation of auto-enrolment with the company's existing contractual enrolment programme.
Mark Kowalik is noted for his extensive experience, having worked in CMS's pensions team for 25 years. He advises both trustees and employers on wide-ranging pensions issues.
Nigel Moore is described by one impressed client as "sensible, commercial and pragmatic." A recent work highlight was advising Pendragon on the merger of six schemes into a single scheme.
Victoria Mance recently joined the firm from Charles Russell LLP. She previously spent six months on secondment to the Pensions Regulator, giving her a greater understanding of the impact of pensions policy.
Significant clients Aon, BAA, Barclays, Crédit Agricole, Coca-Cola.