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Portrait of Jennifer Bell

Jennifer Bell

Partner

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP
Cannon Place
78 Cannon Street
London
EC4N 6AF
United Kingdom
Languages English

Jennifer is a partner in the Pensions team. Jennifer’s experience includes general advisory work covering all aspects of occupational pensions for both sponsoring employers and trustees. She advises scheme documentation, scheme mergers, and the pensions aspects of corporate transactions and restructurings, including major outsourcing programmes and dispute resolution. She has also advised on complex scheme restructurings and drafted and negotiated innovative funding guarantees with overseas parents.

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"She's got this happy knack of being on top of her brief and having a style and tone that brings people with her."

Client Feedback on Chambers & Partners

Relevant experience

  • Advising trustees on complex scheme restructurings and scheme mergers.
  • Advising employers on scheme closures and restructurings.
  • Day to day advice to trustees of pension schemes on a wide range of topics including in particular funding issues arising out of the Pensions Act 2004 Statutory Funding Objective, negotiation of both standard PPF format and scheme-specific funding guarantees and other contingent assets, discretionary trusts payments, ill health early retirement, Finance Act 2004 issues, pension sharing on divorce, IDR and Ombudsman complaints, MNT/MND requirements and conflicts of interest.
  • Advising on the legal issues in DC Schemes including those arising out of the introduction of new and changes to existing DC investment options, trustee protections and DC Governance.
  • Negotiation of investment management agreements with fund managers and investment policies with providers including L&G, BGI, Fidelity and PIMCO.
  • Advising on Pension Protection Fund Guarantees and security issues, including extension of PPF guarantees.
  • Advising on issues arising out of the winding up of pension schemes and securing of member benefits, including trustee insurance, benefit specifications, trustee disclosure requirements; buy ins and buy outs.
  • Advising on company takeover issues as impacting on pension schemes and negotiating security for pension scheme trustees.
  • Advising on corporate restructurings and making clearance applications, negotiating re flexible apportionment arrangements and related documentation; advising trustees in connection with a regulated apportionment arrangement agreed with TPR and the PPF.

Litigation experience

  • Denny v Yeldon as the fourth defendant in an action challenging removal and appointment of Independent Trustees; Hoover Ltd v Hetherington and The Hoover Trust Fund (1987) Ltd [2002] relating to interpretation of early retirement wording for deferred members and employer consent requirement; Pitmans v The Telecommunications Group Plc [2004] relating to the application of s75 to multi-employer schemes; IBM UK Pensions Trust v IBM UK Holdings and Others [2012] relating to the rectification of Scheme deeds back to 1983 and most recently IBM v S Dalgleish, L Harrison and IBM UK Pensions Trust [2014].
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Memberships & Roles

  • Full Member, Association of Pension Lawyers
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Publications

  • Editor of and Contributor to the Pensions Law Handbook (15th Edition), Bloomsbury Professional
  • Editor of and Contributor to the Pensions Law Handbook (13th Edition), Bloomsbury
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Education

  • 1989 – B.A. (Hons) Oxon
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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...
01/10/2021
Gloss­ary
Act: means the Pen­sion Schemes Act 2021.CDC: means a “col­lect­ive defined con­tri­bu­tion” scheme.  Part 1 of the Act provides for these schemes, us­ing the terms “col­lect­ive money pur­chase be­ne­fits” and “col­lect­ive money pur­chase schemes”, but the more com­mon ter­min­o­logy in the in­dustry is to refer to them as “CDC” ar­range­ments.  Find out more about CDC.Clear­ance Guid­ance: means the Reg­u­lat­or’s pub­lished clear­ance guid­ance, aimed at help­ing em­ploy­ers and con­nec­ted parties when un­der­tak­ing the vol­un­tary pro­cess of ap­ply­ing for a clear­ance state­ment.  Where giv­en, a clear­ance state­ment gives as­sur­ance the Reg­u­lat­or will not use its mor­al haz­ard powers to is­sue either a Con­tri­bu­tion No­tice or a Fin­an­cial Sup­port Dir­ec­tion in re­la­tion to a par­tic­u­lar event af­fect­ing a DB pen­sion scheme.  The Reg­u­lat­or’s most re­cent clear­ance guid­ance was up­dated on 29 Septem­ber 2021 and is avail­able here.Codes of Prac­tice: means the codes of prac­tice is­sued un­der s.90 PA04 and pub­lished on the Reg­u­lat­or’s web­site.  Each code is in­ten­ded to give prac­tic­al guidelines on how to com­ply with the leg­al re­quire­ments of pen­sions reg­u­la­tion.Con­tri­bu­tion No­tice (or “CN”): means a no­tice is­sued un­der s.38 PA04 re­quir­ing an em­ploy­er (or a per­son con­nec­ted or as­so­ci­ated with an em­ploy­er) to pay a spe­cified sum in­to a DB pen­sion scheme.  Be­fore the Act, the Reg­u­lat­or could only is­sue a Con­tri­bu­tion No­tice in cir­cum­stances where the Ma­ter­i­al Det­ri­ment Test was met, or where, broadly, there had been an act (or fail­ure to act) the pur­pose of which was to pre­vent a sec­tion 75 debt be­com­ing due or be­ing re­covered.  The Act es­tab­lishes two fur­ther grounds un­der which a Con­tri­bu­tion No­tice can be is­sued.Crim­in­al Of­fences Policy: means the Reg­u­lat­or’s pub­lished policy provid­ing guid­ance on its ap­proach to the in­vest­ig­a­tion and pro­sec­u­tion of the new crim­in­al of­fences of “avoid­ance of em­ploy­er debt” or “con­duct risk­ing ac­crued scheme be­ne­fits”. It provides a com­par­is­on of these new of­fences with oth­er re­lated powers, and in­cludes some ex­amples of the types of be­ha­viour that may fall with­in, and out­side, the scope of these new of­fences. The Crim­in­al Of­fences Policy was pub­lished on 29 Septem­ber 2021 and is avail­able here.DB pen­sion scheme: means a pen­sion scheme which pays a mem­ber a defined amount of be­ne­fit upon re­tire­ment.  Mem­bers will gen­er­ally be re­quired to pay con­tri­bu­tions in­to the scheme but the bal­ance of the cost of provid­ing scheme be­ne­fits will be met by the em­ploy­er. DC pen­sion scheme: means a pen­sion scheme where the be­ne­fits a mem­ber re­ceives will be de­pend­ent on the con­tri­bu­tions made in re­spect of the mem­ber and the in­vest­ment growth achieved, also re­ferred to as a “money pur­chase” pen­sion scheme. De­clar­a­tion of in­tent: a new re­quire­ment un­der s69A PA04 for em­ploy­ers (and those con­nec­ted or as­so­ci­ated with an em­ploy­er) to give the Reg­u­lat­or and scheme trust­ees no­tice of cer­tain events. DWP: the De­part­ment for Work & Pen­sions.Em­ploy­er: means an em­ploy­er par­ti­cip­at­ing in the scheme.  For a DB pen­sion scheme, the em­ploy­er is some­times re­ferred to as the “spon­sor­ing em­ploy­er”.Em­ploy­er In­solv­ency Test: means the new ground es­tab­lished by the Act, un­der which a Con­tri­bu­tion No­tice can be is­sued.  Find out more about the new grounds.Em­ploy­er Re­sources Test: means the new ground es­tab­lished by the Act, un­der which a Con­tri­bu­tion No­tice can be is­sued. Find out more about the new grounds.FCA: means the Fin­an­cial Con­duct Au­thor­ity. Fin­an­cial Sup­port Dir­ec­tion: means a dir­ec­tion is­sued un­der s.43 PA04 re­quir­ing an em­ploy­er (or, broadly, a per­son con­nec­ted or as­so­ci­ated with an em­ploy­er) to se­cure that fin­an­cial sup­port is put in place for a DB pen­sion scheme.  The Reg­u­lat­or can is­sue a Fin­an­cial Sup­port Dir­ec­tion where the em­ploy­er is a “ser­vice com­pany” or “in­suf­fi­ciently re­sourced”.  The Act does not al­ter the Reg­u­lat­or’s powers in re­spect of Fin­an­cial Sup­port Dir­ec­tions. MaPS: means the Money and Pen­sions Ser­vice, es­tab­lished in 2019 and bring­ing to­geth­er three fin­an­cial guid­ance bod­ies: the Money Ad­vice Ser­vice, The Pen­sions Ad­vis­ory Ser­vice, and Pen­sion Wise.  MaPS is an arm’s-length body sponsored by DWP. Find out more about the Money and Pen­sions Ser­vice on their web­site.Mas­ter trust: means an au­thor­ised mas­ter trust scheme with­in the mean­ing of Part 1 of the Pen­sion Schemes Act 2017. Ma­ter­i­al Det­ri­ment Test: means the ground set out in s.38A PA04 un­der which a Con­tri­bu­tion No­tice can be is­sued.Mor­al haz­ard: is the term of­ten used to de­scribe the Reg­u­lat­or’s anti-avoid­ance powers un­der the PA04, in­clud­ing its powers to is­sue Con­tri­bu­tion No­tices and Fin­an­cial Sup­port Dir­ec­tions.No­ti­fi­able events: means the pre­scribed events un­der s.69 PA04, which trust­ees or em­ploy­ers of DB pen­sion schemes must no­ti­fy to the Reg­u­lat­or.  These are be­ing ex­pan­ded on by the Act.PA04: means the Pen­sions Act 2004.PA95: means the Pen­sions Act 1995.PCRIG: means the Pen­sions Cli­mate Risk In­dustry Group, a cross-in­dustry group set up by DWP, oth­er gov­ern­ment de­part­ments and the Reg­u­lat­or to pro­duce guid­ance on how pen­sion trust­ees can ad­dress cli­mate-re­lated fin­an­cial risks as part of their gov­ernance pro­cesses.PDP: means the Pen­sions Dash­boards Pro­gramme, a de­liv­ery group re­spons­ible for put­ting the ne­ces­sary in­fra­struc­ture in place to bring pen­sions dash­boards on stream.PSA93: means the Pen­sion Schemes Act 1993.QROPS: means a Qual­i­fy­ing Re­cog­nised Over­seas Pen­sion Scheme with­in the mean­ing of s.169 Fin­ance Act 2004. Reg­u­lat­or:  means the Pen­sions Reg­u­lat­or, also known as “TPR”.Sec­tion 75 debt: means the debt due from an em­ploy­er of an un­der­fun­ded DB pen­sion scheme un­der s.75 PA95.  Broadly, a debt can be triggered on the in­solv­ency of the em­ploy­er, the with­draw­al of an em­ploy­er in an on­go­ing multi-em­ploy­er scheme or on the wind­ing up of the scheme.  It is cal­cu­lated on the full and most ex­pens­ive “buy-out basis”.TCFD: means the Task Force on Cli­mate-re­lated Fin­an­cial Dis­clos­ures.2018 White pa­per: means the re­port Cm 9591 titled “Pro­tect­ing Defined Be­ne­fit Pen­sion Schemes” pub­lished by DWP in March 2018.
01/10/2021
Pen­sions Dash­boards
Pen­sions dash­boards are di­git­al in­ter­faces that will en­able people to see all their pen­sion sav­ings on­line and in one place.The Act lays out the frame­work for a pub­licly owned dash­board ser­vice, to be ad­min­istered by the Money and Pen­sions Ser­vice (“MaPS”). In ad­di­tion, com­mer­cial pro­viders in the private sec­tor will be able to provide dash­board ser­vices which meet the re­quire­ments of the Act.A “qual­i­fy­ing pen­sions dash­board ser­vice” is de­scribed in the Act as “an elec­tron­ic com­mu­nic­a­tions ser­vice by means of which in­form­a­tion about pen­sions may be re­ques­ted by, and provided to, an in­di­vidu­al or a per­son au­thor­ised by the in­di­vidu­al”.Trust­ees and man­agers of oc­cu­pa­tion­al pen­sion schemes will be re­quired to sub­mit pre­scribed scheme in­form­a­tion to these dash­boards.
01/10/2021
Gath­er­ing In­form­a­tion - In­ter­views and in­spec­tions
The Reg­u­lat­or’s in­vest­ig­a­tion powers have been strengthened, re­du­cing the pre­vi­ous re­stric­tions on when the Reg­u­lat­or can use its dif­fer­ent types of powers.The Reg­u­lat­or’s powers to call people for in­ter­view have been ex­ten­ded, it is able to in­spect premises without a war­rant in more cir­cum­stances – in­clud­ing in sus­pec­ted mor­al haz­ard cases – and people are not able to re­fuse to provide in­form­a­tion that might in­crim­in­ate them (al­though re­stric­tions re­main on what the Reg­u­lat­or can then do with that in­form­a­tion).The Reg­u­lat­or has is­sued a con­sulta­tion on its new reg­u­lat­ory and en­force­ment policy set­ting out its ap­proach to in­vest­ig­a­tions.
01/10/2021
Gath­er­ing In­form­a­tion - Provid­ing false in­form­a­tion and pen­al­ties
To sup­port the Reg­u­lat­or’s in­form­a­tion gath­er­ing powers, the Reg­u­lat­or is now able to is­sue fixed and es­cal­at­ing civil pen­al­ties for non-com­pli­ance, as an ad­di­tion to the pre-ex­ist­ing crim­in­al of­fences for non-com­pli­ance. The Reg­u­lat­or is also now able to im­pose civil pen­al­ties on any­one provid­ing false or mis­lead­ing in­form­a­tion to the Reg­u­lat­or or trust­ees.The Reg­u­lat­or’s policy on high fines in re­la­tion to breaches of in­form­a­tion re­quire­ments was pub­lished on 4 May 2022 and it has is­sued a con­sulta­tion on its new reg­u­lat­ory and en­force­ment policy set­ting out its ap­proach to in­vest­ig­a­tions.
11/02/2021
The Pen­sion Schemes Act 2021 ar­rives
Over a year since it ap­peared in Par­lia­ment, the Pen­sion Schemes Act has re­ceived Roy­al As­sent. The Act arms The Pen­sions Reg­u­lat­or (TPR) with sweep­ing civil and crim­in­al powers; in­tro­duces new cli­mate...
30/01/2019
CMS launches 14th edi­tion of the Pen­sions Law Hand­book, amid sig­ni­fic­ant...
CMS is de­lighted to an­nounce the launch of the 14th edi­tion of the Pen­sions Law Hand­book, the defin­it­ive guide to pen­sions law and prac­tice in the UK. Writ­ten by the CMS pen­sions team, it is an es­sen­tial...