Arc Pensions Law was founded with the aim of providing a high-quality, highly responsive and dedicated support service for law firms and other professionals.
Our partners are experienced in working with other firms when there is a need for more specialist advice on pensions law issues. Our business model is designed to give us the flexibility to closely match pricing structures already in place. We are happy to appear on the record and can act either directly for the ultimate client, as client of the law firm, or can simply provide advice behind-the-scenes as may be required. As a pensions-only law firm with no intentions of expanding our services beyond the extensive range that we already provide, we represent no competitive threat when it comes to introducing our partners to your clients. On these pages we highlight some of the areas where our partners are working to support other professionals in delivering excellent service, competitively priced.
The introduction of ‘auto enrolment’ from October 2012 imposed a whole new set of pension requirements, requiring all employers of any size to put employees into a pension scheme and make contributions in respect of them.
The requirements, rolled out between 2012 and 2017, covered the largest employers first, with smaller employers – including private individuals – commencing during the later stages. For most employers, it is not the cost of contributions which is challenging so much as the administrative complexity involved. The team at Arc Pensions Law has been advising on auto enrolment since its inception. Whether it is to support you in your advice to a client, or to help you understand how auto-enrolment impacts your own firm, we can guide you through the challenges such as:
- Who should auto enrol? The rules around identifying the relevant employees are very complex and may need to be tailored for each business.
- How much money can and should be contributed? There is a range of options and we can help you pinpoint what would work best for different make-ups of workforce.
- Where should the contributions be made? With our help, you can go through the right process and protect against problems from employees objecting to the choice made.
- What should employees be told? Communications can be the key to successful auto enrolment, and we can provide clear and complete communications that comply with the legal requirements whilst ensuring that employees understand what is happening. Whether you have been operating pension schemes for years or are a novice in the area, our helpful, pragmatic assistance will ensure that you navigate the auto enrolment requirements effectively and successfully.
Since the mid-2000s, businesses have had to be aware of the effects of normal business activity on their defined benefit pension arrangements.
Even the most standard commercial activity might affect the next valuation or give rise to demands for additional funding from the Pensions Regulator. Pensions law and regulation can seem ubiquitous and overly restrictive for corporate groups. These rules can apply to apparently unrelated acts, such as:
- intra group reorganisations of assets
- dividend payments
- refinancing or increasing lender security
- acquisition of business, and
- guarantees of obligations of the group or other companies.
Arc Pensions Law can provide the practical advice you need to ensure that your business does not fall foul of regulation. With extensive experience in this area, we can ensure that the most productive approach is taken and that your business is not unduly affected by legal requirements. We can guide you through the planning stage, assist in engagements with the Pensions Regulator or scheme trustees, and generally minimise the time and cost of pensions regulation to the management of your business.
In our increasingly global economy, businesses are considering their UK pensions arrangement as part of international strategies for employee remuneration and plan funding.
The team at Arc Pensions Law have many years’ experience of dealing with pensions on an international footing, and are used to working as part of a global team. We have a wide network of experts in other jurisdictions to meet your culture and needs, and are happy to work closely with your existing local experts. Our assistance includes any or all of the following where appropriate:
- Recommending and introducing tried and tested local counsel
- Liaising with local counsel to ensure timely responses
- Using our global experience to interpret the local issues raised by local counsel, and providing overviews and summaries
- Working with clients on international strategies, using our understanding and contacts to deal with global benefits issues
- Co-ordinating and project managing the pension aspects of international projects, including restructuring, M&A activity and global business reviews.
Arc Pensions Law Partner Rosalind Connor is co-author of the pensions chapter in Secunda, Estreicher, Connor’s Global Issues in Employee Benefits Law and writes for PLC on international pensions issues.
Services for Law Firms
As pensions is such a technical and specialist area of law, an increasing number of first rate, full service firms do not have an in-house specialist pensions team.
There may, however, be occasions where pensions are central to an issue regarding transactions, restructuring or employment. Arc Pensions Law partners and associates have years of experience providing support of this type. We understand that the needs of the client require us to work closely with other lawyers, providing information in a timely and pragmatic way. We aim to build strong, effective relationships, understanding your timetables and methods of working so that we fit seamlessly into your work product. An increasing number of clients are happy to use expert firms for specialist areas of law. We are happy to engage either directly with the client, allowing you to rest assured that our relationship will enhance rather than threaten yours, limiting our advice to the specialist pensions area. We are nonetheless equally happy to work indirectly through you and allow you to present our work to the client as best fits the circumstances. In our support work, we always prioritise the needs your law firm. We believe that relationships with other firms are every bit as important as those with clients. We work hard to ensure that you remain confident in the quality of our work, the commerciality of our advice, our sensitivity to costs issues and our ability to deliver advice in a timely and effective way.
Services for Other Professionals
While many firms of accountants, actuaries, benefit consultants and IFAs have some technical staff to support their activities, they will likely not have a full specialist pensions team operating in-house, both able and qualified to provide a full range of specialist legal services.
On occasion, the ability to use legal privilege may also provide a layer of protection for your clients that may not be achieved without instructing a solicitor. Arc Pensions Law partners and associates have years of experience providing support to other professionals working in the pensions industry.
We understand that the needs of the client require us to work closely with other professionals, providing information in a timely and pragmatic way, working as a seamless, single team to achieve the clients’ objectives. We work hard to build strong, effective relationships, understanding your timetables and methods of working so that we fit seamlessly into your work product. An increasing number of clients are happy to use expert firms for specialist areas of law.
We are happy to engage either directly with the client, allowing you to rest assured that our relationship will enhance rather than threaten yours, limiting our advice to the specialist pensions area. We are nonetheless equally happy to work indirectly through you and allow you to present our work to the client as best fits the circumstances. In our support work, we always prioritise the needs of your law firm. We believe that relationships with other firms are every bit as important as those with clients. We work hard to ensure that you remain confident in the quality of our work, the commerciality of our advice, our sensitivity to costs issues and our ability to deliver advice in a timely and effective way.
Services for Trustees
We have a firm understanding of the issues that cause pension scheme trustees to seek legal advice and support.
Services for Employers and Sponsors
Dedicated, specialist legal support for employers and other scheme sponsors across a range of issues.
Regulatory, Tax and Public Sector
Occupational pension scheme support for sponsors, trustees or professional adviser, in the private or public sectors.
Distress and Winding Up
Support for clients who are initiating, responding to or grappling with the implications of change.
Services for Law Firms and Other Professionals
We are experienced in working with other firms when specialist pensions law advice is needed.