Restructuring / M&A

Pensions-related issues can be one of the biggest obstacles to a company carrying out the corporate restructuring, acquisitions or disposals that are needed as part of its overall business strategy. Not only are the issues more complex, but the regulatory framework is arguably more challenging to navigate than at any previous time.

However, as long as the pensions issues are identified early and appropriate mitigation strategies are developed, we believe that a company should still be able to achieve its strategic goals.

We have many years of experience of delivering M&A and corporate restructuring projects, having led on some multi-billion pound transactions in recent years. We will work with you to:

  • identify your objectives
  • carry out a risk analysis and identify barriers to success
  • set out the mitigation options
  • develop and support your negotiation strategy with all the relevant parties
  • guide you through the regulatory requirements and, where relevant, support you in regulatory discussions.

A strong overseas parent wanted to restructure its UK operations, involving changing the principal employer of the main UK defined benefit plan. In light of the trustees’ powers and the Pensions Regulator’s scrutiny, we needed to do the following:

  • work with the covenant adviser to analyse the impact on the support available to the scheme as a result of the proposals
  • consider how the trustees and TPR would react to the proposals
  • develop an appropriate mitigation package
  • draft a carefully thought through communication package to help walk the trustees and TPR through the proposals.

As the mitigation package involved multiple tiers of financial support across different countries, the process of working through the proposals with the trustees and TPR happened over a number of meetings, before all parties were happy.

The key to success was careful planning and ensuring the client saw the issues through the eyes of the trustees and their duties.

8 November 2019

In the news this week, the Regulator confirms there are 37 authorised master trusts, the DWP consults on simpler annual benefit statements for DC arrangements, the ACA urges tax simplification and university staff are set to strike again.

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