Jane Blackwood helps clients to tackle a broad range of issues relating to pension schemes, including providing general advice (particularly in the crossover areas between pensions and employment), assisting where disputes arise and drafting governing documentation.
In the increasingly complex and technical world of pensions, Jane understands the importance of presenting advice to clients in clear and simple language, ensuring that they fully understand the issues at hand and are presented with a clear recommendation as to the steps they should take as a result.
"I enjoy the variety and technical nature of the work in the Combined Human Resources Team. From general pensions advice, to the crossover between pensions and employment, to litigation and member disputes, there is always plenty of interesting and complex work to sink my teeth into."
Jane dealt with a challenging case with the Pensions Regulator, where they were being particularly heavy handed in their involvement with a small trustee client. The concern was that if we did not satisfy its demands, it might seek to impose sanctions which would have been particularly damaging both from a costs and reputational point of view for our client.
Our role was to steer the trustees through the complex regulatory framework and ensure they were compliant, while also managing the relationship between the parties involved, i.e. ensuring that both the trustee and company remained on good terms despite the increasing (and expensive) demands being placed on the former, and allaying The Pensions Regulator's concerns as swiftly and cost effectively as possible.
It was very satisfying that, despite a number of difficulties which we encountered along the way, we ultimately managed to navigate our client to a place where they avoided regulatory intervention; a fascinating experience for me from a strategic perspective.
Trustee and company clients in the following sectors: Technology, retail, manufacturing and professional services.
Advising trustees and companies on all aspects of pensions law, such as rectification, dealing with the Pensions Regulator, interpretation of Rule provisions, the impact of making retrospective changes to a scheme, equalisation issues, scheme closures, enhanced transfer value exercises, apportionment arrangements, and the impact of changes to legislation.
Dealing with pensions litigation work, including IDRPs, Pensions Ombudsman claims, disputes with HMRC and professional negligence litigation in the High Court
Updating and redrafting trust deeds and rules, most notably for a complex scheme with over 30 separate sections where she acted as project manager
Working in-house for a client, liaising with all other areas of the business to manage risk associated with a website and associated documentation being produced for members of the pension scheme
Providing client training at trustee meetings and at other adhoc events.