Heather is an experienced pensions partner advising employers, trustees, actuaries, accountants and other legal specialists and firms on all aspects of pensions matters relating to occupational and personal pension arrangements, both contract and trust based.
Her style is proactive, focusing on a thorough understanding of all the issues whilst developing pragmatic solutions to reach manageable and long term outcomes. She has a strong understanding of the issues and obligations of both employers and trustees when dealing with pension matters.
Recent work undertaken by Heather includes:
- advising association on investment powers and responsibilities and assisting with assessment of investment strategy;
- advising clients on corporate transactions involving reorganisations on cross border sales and acquisitions;
- advising an employer on its auto-enrolment duties and communicating with its members and employees effectively and in accordance with the auto-enrolment regime;
- providing independent advice to employers on employment issues relating to pensions, including executive terminations and also advising on contractual issues relating to pensions and interpretation;
- advising the trustees of a pension plan on the buy-out of their scheme involving contract drafting, confirmation as to benefit entitlements, advice on GMP equalisation and other data issues, member communications and trustee indemnity protections;
- attending regular trustee meetings and advising on an ongoing basis on scheme management for trustees;
- on not-for-profit schemes and company schemes providing advice to trustees on issues of interpretation, drafting errors and proposals put forward by sponsoring employers to make changes to the scheme and the resolution of disagreements around interpretation;
- bespoke pensions training for trustees, associations. authorities and corporate clients;
- drafting and negotiating documents for trustees on scheme merger relating to a multi section scheme with multiple rules;
- notifiable events risk assessment, advice for employers as to whether a course of action require notification;
- provision of guidance to trustees on their obligation in respect of data protection, preparing of privacy notices;
- bespoke trustee secretarial service and governance advice.
Heather consolidates and deepens her understanding of the issues facing both trustees and employers as she is herself a pension scheme trustee and works closely with other advisers. She has experience with not-for profit clients including unions, authorities and charities and is a trustee of a mental health charity based in Milton Keynes.
Heather also oversees the team’s transactional practice utilising her 20+ years of experience in managing cross border and multi-jurisdictional as well as multi firm transactions. She heads up the teams offering to other law firms who need to buy in pensions transactional and advisor experience. Heather also managed the team's data protection response and supports advice for scheme trustees, involving the specialist data protection team at Shoosmiths as necessary. Heather also works closely with the employment teams working on employee and employer pension issues on termination of contract and relating to compliance with Auto Enrolment.
Heather practiced with Squire Sanders (when it was known as Edge Ellison) from 1993 to 1999 and then Ashurst until the end of 2004 and was made a partner at Shoosmiths on joining in 2005.