Sara Chambers Principal Associate


Speaks:  English


Primary office:  Birmingham


Areas of expertise:



Sara Chambers

Sara works with her clients to support them through the challenging world of pensions, navigating through technical concepts to provide clear commercial advice.

Sara advises a wide range of trustees and employers on all aspects of pensions law, on both business as usual matters and on specific projects including restructurings, scheme mergers (or de-mergers) and funding negotiations, through to benefit change and incentive exercises and funding negotiations.

Pensions law is a complex and fast moving area of law and clients need an adviser who is on top of the latest developments and how it may impact of potentially affect their situation. Sara ensures that she is up to date with developments by making use of the excellent in team training and know-how, and attending industry events and training.

Sara is a full member of the Association of Pension Lawyers (APL) and has delivered a number of talks at their events, including at the summer conference, at evening workshops and on junior training courses. Sara is also a member of the APL communications committee.

Experience

  • Advising on a series of pension scheme closures and benefit redesign exercises, both for trustee boards and for sponsoring employers. Whilst each project has been different, the key themes have been to ensure that the closures are legally compliant and effective, but also that members are given all the information to understand the impact of the closure for them.
  • Advising a trustee client in relation to a proposal by its employer to implement a pension increase exchange, including in relation to the appropriate terms of amendments to the rules, and on the trustees duties generally and to comply with the voluntary code of practice for incentive exercises and Pensions Regulator guidance.
  • Advising an employer client in relation to a wholesale de-risking project including trivial commutation, enhanced transfer value exercises, flexibility on retirement, pension increase exchange with a view to the ultimate buy-out of the remaining scheme benefits.
  • Advising a trustee board in relation to a historic underpayments issue and associated claim against the actuary. This was a complex matter both in terms of the extent of the error itself, but also in relation to the correction of benefits dating back decades and its associated tax consequences, and in negotiating the settlement agreement itself. The end result was that members were put in the position they would have been but for the error and that positive relationships were maintained with the actuarial advisors.
  • Advising an employer in relation to funding negotiations with their scheme trustees, including putting in place a wholesale package of mitigation including negative pledges, guarantees and contingent contributions.
  • Advising an employer in relation to a contingent guarantee structure, including advice in relation to investment and funding issues, and putting in place the documentation for the relevant funding triggers and provisions in relation to the guarantee which would be put in place in each circumstance.
  • Advising a trustee board of a hybrid scheme in relation to a transfer of their defined contribution (DC) assets to a master trust, including advice on the ability to transfer back into the scheme at retirement, and the potential tax consequences for members of making a partial transfer of their benefits.
  • Advising the principal employer of two master trusts in relation to the merger of the two master trusts, including in relation to a pensions consultation exercise across more than 100 employers in one of the schemes and negotiating a bulk transfer.

Expertise

Career & Recognition

Filter timeline:
  • 2017

    • Career
      May2017
      Gowling WLG (UK), principal associate
  • 2016

    • Career
      January2016
      Osborne Clarke LLP, associate director
  • 2012

    • Career
      September2012
      Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, senior associate
  • 2008

    • Career
      February2008
      Pinsent Masons LLP, solicitor
  • 2004

    • Education
      2004
      Inns of Court School of Law, City University, Bar Vocational Course
  • 2002

    • Education
      2002
      Hertford College, Oxford University, Jurisprudence