Overview

Mayer Brown's Pensions group has lawyers in key business centers across Europe and Asia, offering sophisticated solutions to the most complex issues facing our pensions clients. Our clients are among the largest businesses in the world with members of the Fortune 100, FTSE 100, DAX and Hang Seng frequently seeking our counsel on plan and scheme strategies. We deal with the full range of work relating to pension schemes such as implementation and restructuring of occupational pension schemes, representing companies before employment and ordinary courts for pension-related issues and advice related to the investment of pension assets. Our experience extends across the myriad regulatory environments in which our clients find themselves.

Practice at a Glance

  • More than 30 lawyers focus on pensions issues across Europe and Asia.
  • Our clients are members of the Fortune 100, FTSE 100, DAX and Hang Seng.
  • Our presence in the largest national economies in Europe bolsters the reach of our European benefits lawyers.
  • We have the largest pensions capability of any firm operating in Asia.
Highlights
Employment & Benefits Tools and Resources

Praxis

Mayer Brown's pension practice has extensive experience representing employers, trustees and member representatives in Europe, Asia and the United States with respect to all aspects of pension plans and schemes. We regularly offer advice on risk management, alternative dispute resolution and avoiding litigation. We have included a representative sampling of our work worldwide below.

Europe

Our European pensions group is a unique pool of pension specialists throughout the EU-wide pension market. Understanding the needs of our clients in a changing demographic environment, we are focused on the ever increasing importance of occupational pensions issues for employers, employees and the pensions industry. Our lawyers in the major European business centers – the United Kingdom and Germany – enhance our reach throughout Europe. Our lawyers meet our clients' needs for modern, flexible pension schemes with calculable costs and secure benefits and safely guide our clients through the extremely diverse and varied pensions systems in Europe. Our pensions lawyers are known for their innovative and open-minded approach when it comes to finding solutions – on a national level as well as cross-border.

France

Our Paris Employment Group advises both French and non-French companies and executives in all employment-related matters. The Group is particularly skilled and experienced in the negotiation and implementation of incentive schemes and optional company pension schemes, the information and consultation of employees representatives in connection therewith, as well as the social and tax aspects of incentive and pension schemes.

We have extensive experience in pension matters in the context of M&A, outsourcing, restructuring and cost reduction matters.

Germany

Our pension lawyers are amongst the best known in a fast emerging market that has long been known for its sleeping potential. We advise our clients on all questions related to occupational pension schemes – from the structuring of the scheme, its implementation and its ongoing administration. We have in-depth knowledge of pensions matters in M&A transactions and have advised a large number of corporations on scheme restructurings, especially on the outsourcing of liabilities under direct commitment schemes. Our lawyers regularly appear before employment and ordinary courts and have a reputation to be among the best pension litigators in the country. We are members of the German professional organization for occupational pensions (Arbeitsgemeinschaft fuer betriebliche Altersversorgung) and the International Pensions and Employee Benefits Association (IPEBLA). To provide full-service advice to our clients, the pensions lawyers in our Employment & Benefits group liaise with colleagues from other groups in our product group Pensions Asset Management. The activities of our pensions specialists are rounded off by regular publications and presentations in Germany’s biggest newspapers and journals and at Germany’s leading pensions conferences. 

United Kingdom

Recognized as one of the top pensions practices in the UK, the Pensions Group in the London office consists of a core team of 30 lawyers (including 7 partners) plus others in our pensions finance and pensions litigation practices.

The UK Pensions team has unrivalled pensions experience and advises the trustees or corporate sponsors of pension funds associated with household name companies. We act for funds associated with many of the FTSE 100/250 companies, and a large number of the UK's top pension funds by asset value. Advice to pension schemes increasingly requires a fully integrated service involving other specialist teams in Finance, Employment, Tax, Litigation, Real Estate, Insurance and Corporate.

The UK Legal 500 comments that the team "maintains its position as one of the UK's leading pensions groups," gives examples of the team's "outstanding work" and confirms that "clients are assured a high-quality service." Chambers UK describes the team as a "'major player' in the pensions field ... made up of trusted individuals who are 'always really solid and good to deal with'."

UK Trustee Practice

We provide clients with proactive, commercial and pragmatic advice so as to place them in the best possible position to respond to the myriad challenges they face. Our approach is to seek pragmatic solutions for our clients without taking undue risks. In this age of regulators and ombudsmen, trustees must not only do the right thing, but be seen to have done it.

One of our recent innovations was the development of a comprehensive governance program for our trustee clients in response to their need for increasing support in fulfilling their onerous obligations in the new regulatory environment. Our program consists of three core elements: 

  • Governance reviews and materials which integrate the Pensions Regulator's regulatory priorities within a systematic governance structure, one which clearly distinguishes mandatory legal requirements from aspirational "best practice" guidance
  • A trustee knowledge series offering trustees a series of courses, events and publications to give them the knowledge they need to carry out their duties
  • Trustee publications designed to keep our clients aware of key developments

Pensions Finance Practice

In response to changing market conditions and client needs, we drew together the skills of our pensions team with Mayer Brown finance, financial services, insurance and derivatives lawyers to provide a "one-stop shop" for our clients offering them the best advice on asset management, pooled fund investment, using derivatives to match pension liabilities, and bulk purchase annuities (buy-ins or buyouts).

The pensions team works with Mayer Brown finance and restructuring lawyers to advise on use of "contingent assets," including parent company guarantees, letters of credit and security over real estate and other assets. 

Employer Practice

We have been quick to respond to an increasing demand from employer clients for independent advice on pension matters, developing an employer practice focusing on their specific advisory requirements. One of the key issues for employers is how to manage pension fund liabilities (buyouts, transfer incentive programmes and so on). Others are funding negotiations with trustees, dealing with the Pensions Regulator on corporate activity, and managing assets. We also work closely with our restructuring lawyers on the complexities involved on a corporate sponsor's insolvency or a solvent reorganization. 

Asia

Mayer Brown is a leading provider of legal services in Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) and other retirement schemes in Hong Kong. We act for a large number of ORSO (i.e., voluntary private sector) retirement schemes and as well as the largest MPF service providers in Hong Kong.

We advise clients on:

  • All aspects of retirement schemes
  • Drafting and commenting on subsidiary contracts, including custody and fund management agreements
  • Retirement scheme trustees on their obligations and liabilities
  • Investment of funds of MPF schemes

Typically, we have set up such schemes, as well as handled all ongoing and regulatory aspects. We also advise the large trustee companies concerning issues relating to ORSO and MPF retirement schemes, and work closely with benefit consultants on a regular basis.

Mayer Brown can provide advice on all aspects of MPF and ORSO schemes tailored to the needs of our clients.