Glyn Ryland Partner Head of Pensions

Speaks:  English

Qualified: 1992 - Solicitor of Hong Kong

Qualified: 1988 - Solicitor of England & Wales

Primary office:  London

Secondary office:  Birmingham

Practice areas:

Glyn Ryland

Glyn Ryland has been leading the multi award winning UK Pensions Team since 1999, and it is now one of the largest and most respected in the country. He is the lead partner on a range of pension plan and employer clients, with plan sizes ranging from multi-billion pounds to smaller or executive pension plans. Glyn was a founder member of the Association of Pensions Lawyers' Investment Sub-Committee, and he is a trustee of the ILC-UK (a non-partisan think tank which carries our research into longevity-related issues, and feeds into government policy on age).

Glyn's legal practice is focused on helping clients to manage their strategic and practical pensions law issues, by acting as a trusted adviser to trustee boards and employers.

He finds solutions and avoids pensions complexity, by helping clients understand the issues and to navigate ways around them wherever possible.

With people's livelihoods and a company's financial strength at issue, in a very heavily regulated environment, pensions can be difficult. By focusing on handling the situation efficiently and with the minimum of fuss, Glyn uses the law as a means of creating a positive outcome for his clients.

Pensions law is a complex and fast-moving discipline, so clients need law firms with extensive experience. A pensions partner supported by a team of research lawyers and specialist units in areas such as pensions investment law, pensiosn risk transfer, public sector pensions law, pensions dispute resolution, health care trust law, pensions provider and intermediary regulation, and combined human resources law (where employment law and pensions law meet) can bring rapid and wide-ranging results for clients in most situations.

If a client faces a pensions problem, Glyn and his team are likely to have worked on it before. But they are also at the forefront of new developments, having worked on cases such as the first large 'all risks' annuity transfer, the first ever AE compliant CARE plan, the first £100m+ ABF structure using intellectual property as an asset, and, in the distant past, Glyn registered the first retirement scheme under Hong Kong's Occupational Retirement Scheme Ordinance.

As pension plans become both more complicated and, in some cases, less relevant to the workplace and more relevant to the board room and the finance director, Glyn has worked with a number of clients to manage the enormous changes that those shifts create. It helps to have vast experience of protecting pension scheme trustees - which is primarily a function of making sure that they know what the right step to take is.

Equally, Glyn and the team do a great deal of work with corporates to make sure that where there are rational and fair business objectives that have to be met in the long term interests of everyone, including the pension plans, we can achieve those without pensions being a 'blocker'.

This is a field where you have to move fast, both practically and in the legal process, if you're going to achieve sensible outcomes. Personal trust and relationships are often at the heart of making things work well.


  • Completing a £2.4bn risk transfer and starting the wind-up of a £3.5bn pension plan.
  • Working for the trustees of a large quoted company that was the subject of a takeover bid. We did a great deal with the predator that would have protected the pensioners very nicely. But then the bid fell to bits!
  • Leading a team since 1999 that has won numerous awards and, more importantly, the trust and loyalty of a great and growing client base.


Glyn worked for a £3 billion electronics sector pension scheme, working first on a £360 million asset injection from its overseas parent, and then on a £400 million buy-in of a significant proportion of its pensioner liabilities.

He advised a FTSE 100 company on a very novel £340 million asset-backed funding structure, subsequently reconstructing that structure to take account of corporate and pension scheme changes.

He advised one of the big four UK retailers on the creation of an entirely new solution to auto enrolment, in the first wave of new legislation taking effect.

Practice areas

Career & Recognition

Filter timeline:
  • 2019

    • Rankings & Awards
      September 2019
      Legal 500 2019 Leading Individuals - Pensions
    • Rankings & Awards
      September 2019
      Legal 500 2019 Leading Individuals - Pensions
    • Rankings & Awards
      Chambers (UK) 2020 - Pensions: Midlands - Eminent Practitioners
  • 2018

    • Rankings & Awards
      Legal 500 - 2018 - Leading individual (Pensions)
    • Rankings & Awards
      Chambers UK 2019 (Pensions: Midlands) - Band 1
    • Rankings & Awards
      The Legal 500 United Kingdom Hall of Fame - 2018
  • 2016

    • Rankings & Awards
      Leading individual, Legal 500 - Pensions
    • Career
      Gowling WLG (UK) LLP, partner
  • 2014

    • Career
      June 2014
      Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co, partner
    • Community
      Trustee, International Longevity Centre (ILC-UK)
  • 1998

    • Career
      October 1998
      Wragge & Co, partner
  • 1995

    • Career
      June 1995
      Pinsent Curtis, partner
  • 1994

    • Career
      October 1994
      Pinsent & Co, associate
  • 1992

    • Career
      February 1992
      Johnson Stokes & Master, Hong Kong, solicitor
    • Qualifications (Year of Call/Admission, etc.)
      Qualified, Solicitor of Hong Kong
  • 1988

    • Career
      January 1988
      Herbert Smith, solicitor
    • Qualifications (Year of Call/Admission, etc.)
      Qualified, Solicitor of England & Wales
  • 1986

    • Career
      Philips & Buck, trainee
  • 1985

    • Education
      The College of Law, Lancaster Gate, Solicitors’ finals
  • 1984

    • Education
      University College of Wales, Aberystwyth Ll.B.