'Beth Brown provides fast, intelligent and pragmatic advice. You can't ask for a better service.'
Legal 500 2020

Overview

Beth Brown is a senior associate in the Pensions practice of the London office who, in 2019, was shortlisted for two Professional Pension Women in Pension awards.  She provides advice to trustee and employer clients on all aspects of pensions with a particular focus on defined contribution governance, pensions insolvency and risk transfer matters. 

Beth trained at Mayer Brown and has undertaken two secondments to a pensions statutory fund, the Pension Protection Fund ("PPF") and a global pharmaceutical business, AstraZeneca, London. Beth is an active member of the cross-disciplinary pensions insolvency and pension risk transfer teams, advising on de-risking by pension funds, investments and restructurings. 

Beth's work has included advising trustees on employer insolvencies and transition to the PPF, including one of the first largest multi-employer schemes (Woolworths), and working with our finance and securities team to advise the trustee board of the Total UK Pension Plan on the collateral arrangements securing the insurance of £1.6 billion of pensioner liabilities by Pensions Insurance Corporation (one of the UK industry's largest bulk annuity deals). The size of the transaction required the implementation of an innovative structure with Pensions Insurance Corporation. Beth also has experience with High Court litigation, including the Prudential case on discretionary pension increases. 

Outside her primary client work, Beth is an active member in the pensions industry.  She chairs the Pensions Management Institute ("PMI")'s Awards in Pension Trusteeship Committee, continues to sit on the PMI's Certificate in DC Governance Committee having helped to establish and develop the qualification as well as being a co-author of the study manual, and co-founded the PMI's TrustSec (an online learning tool for secretaries to trustee boards). Beth also regularly speaks at and chairs events such as the Association of Pension Lawyers ("APL")’s Investment Essentials Course, Pensions and Benefits UK ("PBUK") Conference and PMI seminars. She also writes for internal and external publications which has included PMI News, PLC, International Corporate Rescue and Engaged Investor. 

Spoken Languages

  • English

Experience

Non-contentious

  • Advised a pension statutory fund, the Pension Protection Fund ("PPF"), on the settlement of the Hoover Pension Scheme’s defined benefit deficit by way of a Regulated Apportionment Arrangement (one of the permitted mechanisms for compromising a s75 employer debt), which was approved by the Pensions Regulator, and the associated corporate transaction.
  • Advised the trustee board of the Total UK Pension Plan on their insurance of £1.6 billion of pensioner liabilities with Pensions Insurance Corporation in June 2014; this is one of the UK industry's largest bulk annuity deals and the size of the transaction required the implementation of an innovative structure with Pensions Insurance Corporation.
  • Advised the Trustee of the Woolworths Pension Scheme in connection with its entry into the PPF. Woolworths was one of the first large multi-employer schemes to transition to the PPF.
  • Advised various pension trustees with different funding positions on PPF reconsideration (for entry) and closed scheme applications in accordance with legislative requirements and obtaining of buy-out annuity quotations. 
  • Worked with pension trustees on scheme wind-ups including advising on legal requirements, processes and practicalities including addressing potential exposures after winding-up through trustee liability run-off insurance.
  • Advised various trustee and employer clients on their legal duties as well as negotiating the legal aspects of investment documentation, including investment management agreements, custody agreements and fund documentation.
  • Advised trustees of receiving and transferring schemes on steps to be taken on merging pension schemes including advising on procedural steps and benefits. 

Contentious

  • Hughes v Woolworths Group Pension Trustee Limited. Represented the respondent in this important case concerning the provisions in the Pensions Act 2004 governing the operation of the PPF and the impact of the PPF assessment period on members' benefits. 
  • Prudential Staff Pensions Limited v The Prudential Assurance Company Limited & Others. Represented the trustee in this leading case on the scope of the duty of good faith owed by sponsoring employers, particularly in relation to discretionary pension increases and trustees' duties. 
 

Education

BPP Law School, Legal Practice Course

University of Kent, LLB, Honours

Admissions

  • England and Wales

Memberships

  • Chair of PMI's Association of Pension Trustees Committee (external)
  • PMI's Certificate in DC Governance Committee (external)
  • Global Technology Associates Forum and Chair of Knowledge Management Sub-Committee (internal)
  • Chair of Mayer Brown Women's Network Steering Committee (internal)
  • Co-Chair of Mayer Brown NextGen Committee (internal)
  • Associates Forum (internal)
  • 'Beth Brown provides fast, intelligent and pragmatic advice. You can't ask for a better service.' (Legal 500 2020 Pensions)