Suzannah White helps clients to efficiently manage their pensions schemes. She understands that pensions schemes are often multi-faceted and that looking after scheme members well while reflecting the needs of the scheme sponsors can be a difficult and negotiated balance. She helps trustee clients develop and maintain a good working relationship with their sponsoring company, making funding discussions easier and more constructive while also acting in the best interest of their members and avoiding disputes.
As well as advising trustees, Suzannah has significant experience of assisting corporate employers with the management of their schemes, allowing them to where possible reduce costs through rationalising, merging and winding-up.
Suzannah also guides both trustee and corporate clients through the numerous new developments that arise in pensions law, so that they can understand how to adapt to or take advantage of changes and what those changes mean for scheme members. Her clients benefit from her expertise in advising on everyday member queries, allowing them to answer the more difficult questions members or employees raise quickly and accurately.
Trustees' have the difficult job of negotiating a balance between looking after pension scheme members and company interests to the benefit of all, while understanding that no sponsoring company's resources are unlimited. Pensions is a very people-focused area and Suzannah enjoys helping these trustees (who are often taking on voluntary positions, or balancing multiple roles) run their schemes well, so that they can keep their members happy, their sponsoring company happy and provide their members with the benefits they think they should be getting. She guides busy people, who are trying to resolve issues quickly and effectively, through the complexities of pensions law so that they can do their best by all involved.
Our work often also directly assists the end-people of the scheme. Individuals affected by pensions issues can be vulnerable and making sure that they get what they should be getting is an important and rewarding aspect to her role.
- Advising a scheme with a vulnerable and disadvantaged membership and assisting negotiations with the scheme's sponsor and the Department of Work and Pensions to ensure that, where possible, members got the benefit of promises that were made outside of the rules of the scheme. A trustee was able to comment that our work put more money in vulnerable people's pockets at the end of the day, which was a real highlight.
- Giving advice to a larger client in relation to managing the DC element of a DB/DC scheme, managing liability for deferred members and looking at a possible transfer to a master trust arrangement. This would be a new and innovative scheme structure for the client and it has been fascinating working with the client to assess the potential routes for such a change.
- There is one particular scheme that Suzannah has advised since she joined the firm, looking after them through mergers, disputes and finally the winding-up of the scheme. The process of seeing the scheme through for 15 years and seeing the benefits secured for members in full has been particularly rewarding.
Trustees of pensions schemes and corporate clients in a variety of sectors.
Helping a number of trustee clients with all aspects of managing their pensions schemes on a day-to-day basis, including assisting with member queries, complaints and queries on rule interpretation so that members can be given appropriate and accurate information quickly
Assisting a large client with the management of their DB/DC scheme, including advising on a proposed transfer to a master trust arrangement
Working closely with a number of clients on scheme buy-in and buy-outs
Helping a scheme with a vulnerable membership to ensure that the members benefited from promises that had been made outside of the rules of the scheme
Currently advising on a consolidation of trust deed and rules in preparation for a planned buy-out and wind-up. This has been particularly interesting given that the deed and rules date back to 1955!