Pensions

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Our award-winning pensions team is experienced in advising trustees, employers, consultants and insurers on all aspects of pensions law. As well as day-to-day advice, we have particular experience advising on benefit redesign, scheme closures and liability reduction. We are industry-leaders in longevity hedging, buy-in, buy-out, asset-backed funding, funds and corporate restructuring. Unlike other pension law practices, we work on litigation, as this enables us to brief clients in full on any potentially contentious issues and provides a balanced approach to our advice. CMS also leads the way on pensions de-risking transactions – in 2021 we advised on 23 de-risking transactions with a combined value of more than GBP 15bn – acting on 6 of the 8 longevity swap conversions to date, and many large-scale longevity swaps. 

We provide schemes of all sizes with clear, pragmatic and proactive advice. Keeping our clients up-to-date is a priority for us and we share our unparalleled insight through a wide range of resources, which focus on what you need to know and, practically, what you need to do.

With more than 75 UK lawyers, we have the largest pension teams of any major UK law firm (and the largest London pensions team in a full-service law firm). We are widely regarded as market-leaders in the pensions industry maintaining our top tier rankings for Pensions and Pensions Litigation in Chambers and Legal 500 for over a decade. 

Industry recognition

  • ‘European Pensions Law Firm of the Year 2021’, European Pensions Awards.
  • ‘Pensions Lawyers of the Year 2021’, Pensions Age Awards.
  • 'Award for Supporting Development 2020', Professional Pensions Rising Star Awards.
  • In 2021 we published CMS’s Pensions Law Handbook (15th edition), a definitive 1,000 page guide to UK pensions law, awarded the APL Wallace Medal for “meritorious work in communicating and explaining legal issues affecting pensions”.

"CMS understand the sector better than any other firm, come up with cost-effective solutions to problems, and are willing to deploy creative strategies when appropriate. The firm remains at the very top of the profession."

Legal 500, 2022

"They really are the standout firm for all things pensions. Their pension lawyers are brilliant and talk my language as well. The breadth and depth of the pensions team means there is very little that they haven’t seen or advised on before, so you always feel as though you are getting an answer based on experience, rather than just a fresh reading of the law."

Legal 500, 2021

"They can deal with anything you throw at them. They are responsive, fun to work with and always professional. They are pragmatic and really know what you want to achieve and will try to get you there."-

Chambers, 2021

CMS is ‘the best in the market’

Legal 500, 2020

"They're the biggest hitter both in terms of litigation and advisory work. They have resources that no one else can contemplate and they do phenomenal work."

Chambers, 2020
Law-Now: Pen­sions
Vis­it Law-Now for leg­al know-how and com­ment­ary
CMS Pen­sions Law­Cast
Hos­ted by CMS Pen­sions ex­perts, this series looks ahead to the key is­sues...
01/10/2021
Pen­sion Schemes Act 2021
Wel­come to the CMS Guide to the Pen­sion Schemes Act 2021.This is the most sig­ni­fic­ant piece of UK pen­sions le­gis­la­tion in the 17 years since the Pen­sions Act 2004. It broadens the powers of the Pen­sions Reg­u­lat­or even fur­ther, in­tro­duces cer­tain crim­in­al of­fences that are draf­ted in a very broad man­ner and sets in mo­tion a whole host of oth­er ini­ti­at­ives.The Pen­sion Schemes Act 2021 will be sup­ple­men­ted by codes of prac­tice, guid­ance and reg­u­la­tions to flesh out the de­tail and to help our col­lect­ive un­der­stand­ing of how the pro­vi­sions will ap­ply in prac­tice. Es­pe­cially im­port­ant will be get­ting clar­ity from the Pen­sions Reg­u­lat­or on how it is likely to ex­er­cise its new powers.We will be up­dat­ing this Guide as and when there are fur­ther de­vel­op­ments, so it will be a liv­ing ref­er­ence work.The world of pen­sions is nev­er dull, and it is go­ing to get even more in­ter­est­ing as these new pro­vi­sions get up and run­ning.

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10/05/2022
Trust­ee Know­ledge Up­date - Feb­ru­ary-April 2022
Trust­ees of oc­cu­pa­tion­al pen­sion schemes have a stat­utory duty to en­sure that they have an ad­equate know­ledge and un­der­stand­ing of the leg­al is­sues rel­ev­ant to their scheme.  They must also en­sure that...
14/04/2022
CMS Pen­sions Brief­ing DC Schemes and Mas­ter Trusts – April 2022
Wel­come to our reg­u­lar brief­ing on top­ic­al is­sues fa­cing defined con­tri­bu­tion (DC) pen­sion ar­range­ments, in­clud­ing Mas­ter Trusts. In this brief­ing we’re “fu­ture-gaz­ing” – ex­plor­ing the Gov­ern­ment’s...
15/02/2022
CMS ad­vises SCOR on £5.5bn Lloyds Bank longev­ity trans­ac­tion
In­ter­na­tion­al law firm CMS has ad­vised SCOR, one of the world's largest re­in­surers, in con­nec­tion with its £5.5 bil­lion longev­ity re­in­sur­ance trans­ac­tion, cov­er­ing li­ab­il­it­ies of over 17,000 mem­bers...
10/02/2022
CMS ad­vises Heath­row’s BAA Pen­sion Scheme on £370m buy-in with Leg­al &...
In­ter­na­tion­al law firm CMS has ac­ted for the Trust­ee of Lon­don Heath­row’s BAA Pen­sion Scheme (the Scheme) in re­la­tion to its c£370m buy-in with Leg­al & Gen­er­al As­sur­ance So­ci­ety Lim­ited (Leg­al & Gen­er­al). The...
01/02/2022
Trust­ee Know­ledge Up­date - Novem­ber 2021 - Janu­ary 2022
Trust­ees of oc­cu­pa­tion­al pen­sion schemes have a stat­utory duty to en­sure that they have an ad­equate know­ledge and un­der­stand­ing of the leg­al is­sues rel­ev­ant to their scheme.  They must also en­sure that...
17/01/2022
Pen­sions Om­buds­man Up­date - Janu­ary 2022
Wel­come to the latest reg­u­lar Pen­sions Om­buds­man Up­date from the CMS Pen­sions Team. The Pen­sions Om­buds­man re­solves many cases every year which are not only im­port­ant for the parties con­cerned, but can...
14/01/2022
CMS ad­vises Im­per­i­al To­bacco Pen­sion Fund on £1.8bn buy-in with Stand­ard...
In­ter­na­tion­al law firm CMS has ad­vised the Im­per­i­al To­bacco Pen­sion Fund (“The Fund”) in re­la­tion to its £1.8bn bulk pur­chase an­nu­ity trans­ac­tion with Stand­ard Life, cov­er­ing be­ne­fits of 6,600 defined...
21/12/2021
CMS Pen­sions Brief­ing DC Schemes and Mas­ter Trusts – Decem­ber 2021
Wel­come to our third reg­u­lar brief­ing on top­ic­al is­sues fa­cing defined con­tri­bu­tion (DC) pen­sion ar­range­ments. In this brief­ing we ex­plore di­versity and in­clu­sion in the pen­sions space, changes to the...
30/11/2021
CMS cli­ent Clara-Pen­sions re­ceives TPR ap­prov­al to start trans­act­ing as...
Clara-Pen­sions, the mem­ber-first con­sol­id­at­or for defined be­ne­fit pen­sion schemes, has today an­nounced its con­firm­a­tion as the first to suc­cess­fully com­plete The Pen­sions Reg­u­lat­or’s (TPR) as­sess­ment...
25/11/2021
Nex­t­Gen part­ners with CMS
Nex­t­Gen, the in­dustry body giv­ing fresh ideas a voice and show­cas­ing new tal­ent in pen­sions, an­nounces its stra­tegic part­ner­ship with in­ter­na­tion­al law firm CMS. They will be provid­ing mu­tu­al sup­port...
08/11/2021
No time to lose - new trans­fer rules in place this month
The Gov­ern­ment has pub­lished its fi­nal pro­pos­als for chan­ging the law on trans­fers to help pro­tect pen­sion scheme mem­bers from scams. The new rules come in­to ef­fect on 30 Novem­ber, so trust­ees and ad­min­is­trat­ors...
02/11/2021
Trust­ee Know­ledge Up­date: Au­gust - Oc­to­ber 2021
Trust­ees of oc­cu­pa­tion­al pen­sion schemes have a stat­utory duty to en­sure that they have an ad­equate know­ledge and un­der­stand­ing of the leg­al is­sues rel­ev­ant to their scheme.  They must also en­sure that...