Pensions team changes to fit new landscape | 16 December 10

LAW firm Ward Hadaway is reorganising its specialist pensions team in anticipation of major changes to workplace pensions which will affect all employers.

The firm is aligning its team more closely with colleagues in other specialist departments, including employment, commercial litigation, corporate, commercial and property in order to provide a more seamless service to clients.

The move comes as the Government presses ahead with plans to radically change pension provision in the workplace.

From as soon as October 2012, employers will have to enrol all eligible workers into a qualifying workplace pension scheme and make a minimum contribution of 3% of the worker’s salary towards that scheme.

Employers will also have an ongoing duty to maintain qualifying pension provision for workers who are already members of qualifying schemes or who become members of such schemes.

Tristan Mander, associate and head of pensions at Ward Hadaway, said the changes would have a “profound effect” on all employers regardless of size.

Tristan said: “Without doubt, auto-enrolment is the biggest shake-up in pension provision in the UK for decades.

“It will have a profound effect on all employers in both the private and public sectors and will mean in many cases a lot of adjustment on the part of companies, particularly those in the SME sector.

“We have always worked alongside colleagues in other areas of the firm on pensions issues, but this new arrangement allows us to work with them as part of a single team.

“By doing so, we feel we will be able to address the concerns which clients have about issues like auto-enrolment in a more seamless, joined-up way and bring in specialist expertise from other departments to offer a real all-round service.”

The pensions team at Ward Hadaway already advises a broad range of employers on issues including the pensions aspects of corporate transactions, joint ventures, reorganisations and demergers, as well as advising on all legal aspects of company pension schemes and personal pension schemes, including scheme closure and scheme wind-ups.

The team also advises pension fund trustees and directors on their respective obligations.

Colin Hewitt, partner and head of commercial law at Ward Hadaway, said: “This reorganisation of the pensions team will bring an even sharper focus on the issues which businesses and organisations encounter when it comes to pensions.

“Since pensions cut right across a number of different areas in business, it makes sense to replicate that when it comes to dealing with pensions issues for Ward Hadaway as a law firm.

“It also means that the pensions team can communicate potential issues to their colleagues in other departments quicker and vice versa, hopefully making for a more pro-active service for our clients.”

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