Corporate support for law firms without a specialist pensions team
Our team of experienced pensions lawyers is available to provide support to those firms who do not have a specialist pensions team. As a niche trusts law practice, Wrigleys undertakes no mainstream corporate work and so does not compete with firms that do. Accordingly, we are ideally placed to assist you and your clients.
We provide advice to purchasers and vendors on the pensions aspects of corporate transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, and private equity finance (or refinancing).
For purchasers, we carry out due diligence on a target’s pension arrangements, identifying risks and the sale and purchase agreement, including drafting pensions warranties and indemnities. For vendors, we assist with preparations for sale, including undertaking vendor due diligence (as required) to identify and resolve any pensions issues prior to sale.
Where the target has more complex pension arrangements, our advice covers (where relevant):
- strategies for managing statutory debt risk in defined benefit (DB) schemes*
- anti-avoidance risks where a transaction could impact an underfunded DB scheme*
- scheme specific risks including winding up triggers and poison pill provisions under scheme rules which may be engaged by a corporate transaction*
- statutory reporting and disclosure obligations
- resolution of technical queries arising from bespoke pension arrangements including small self-administered schemes (SSAS)
* In each case, negotiating terms with pension scheme trustees as required.
With regards to the sale and purchase of businesses, we advise on the operation of the Transfer of Undertaking (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE), including their interaction with statutory auto-enrolment obligations and the pension protection provisions of the Pensions Act 2004. We also advise on ‘Beckmann’ rights.
Restructurings and distressed employers
In addition to corporate support, we advise trustees and employers on the pensions aspects of restructurings. In many cases, early pensions advice will be critical to managing the statutory debt risk inherent in underfunded DB schemes.
Where an employer is in financial distress, we advise on strategies to manage pension scheme liabilities and (in the case of qualifying DB schemes) entry into the Pension Protection Fund (PPF). Team members have significant experience acting on PPF matters including managed transitions into the PPF through regulated apportionment arrangements. We also advise on exit from a PPF assessment period (where funding exceeds PPF levels of compensation), including the subsequent buy-out of benefits and the securing of further benefits as and when recoveries are made under the employer insolvency process.
Fees and charging structure
We provide clear, commercial, and cost-effective pensions advice. Many of our lawyers come from larger national firms. However, a lower cost base allows Wrigleys to match the expertise of national and city firms at competitive rates.
We are happy to be instructed directly by your client or act as part of your wider deal team and work with other specialists to achieve your client’s desired outcomes. In either case, our role as a niche law firm means that we can augment, rather than challenge, your relationship with the client. Please contact us to discuss our approach and proposals to match the needs and budget of you and your client, including fixed fees for some work.
‘They do what they do in an unassuming but focused, timely and technically excellent way. They are friendly and welcoming and I see them as an integral part of the team. They are more than able to identify and resolve complex issues; in a recent instance this is a leading edge matter. Their charging structure is incredibly client friendly too.’
Legal 500 (2022)
"They are extremely bright and provide a high level of service and expertise."
"Their advice has always been pragmatic and commercial."
Chambers and Partners (2021)