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Portrait of Mark Grant

Mark Grant

Head of Pensions

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP
Cannon Place
78 Cannon Street
United Kingdom
Languages English

Mark Grant is a partner who heads the CMS Pensions team. He joined the firm as a trainee in 1990 and specialised in pensions law since qualifying in 1992. He became a partner in 1999 and is now the Head of our Pensions Ombudsman Unit.

Mark is the author of The Pensions Ombudsman: Powers, Procedures and Decisions (Sweet & Maxwell). He was a member of the APL's Pensions Litigation Committee for 10 years and is now on the APL’s Main Committee. He chairs the Pensions Ombudsman Liaison Group.

He was assistant editor of the Occupational Pensions Law Reports and co-editor of the Journal of the International Pensions and Employee Benefits Lawyers Association (IPEBLA) for several years and an IPEBLA Steering Committee Member. 

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“an outstanding litigator with superb judgement and vast knowledge of the sector”


“A ‘great pensions lawyer’”


“a stellar reputation…a standout practitioner”


“a first-class lawyer who can make things happen”


“recommended for his responsiveness and ability to give straightforward and well-balanced advice”


“sharp incisive mind”


“one of the top pensions litigators in the market”


“he has a fountain of ideas to offer when trying to resolve contentious pensions matters”


“Mark is described as ‘outstanding’ and as ‘highly experienced, innovative and client-friendly’”

Legal 500

“knows pensions law backwards”

Legal 500

“fizzes with ideas and is excellent to work with”

Legal 500

“he’s very experienced, imaginative, practical and commercial”

Legal 500

“unrivalled in any matter involving black-letter pensions legal knowledge and litigation strategy”

Legal 500

Relevant experience

  • A wide variety of clients on all aspects of pensions law (contentious and non-contentious) and his clients include the trustees of the pension schemes of Heineken, Weetabix, Taylor Wimpey Plc and Northrop Grumman.
  • The trustees of Monarch Airlines pension scheme when entering into a Regulated Apportionment Arrangement to facilitate a rescue of the business.
  • Numerous court cases concerning pensions issues including:
    • Coloroll (1993) European Court of Justice and High Court – sex equality issues – for trustees
    • Ferranti Pension Scheme (1999) High Court – disputed pension entitlements – for trustees
    • Stone v Pensions Ombudsman (2000) High Court  – alleged investment duty breaches – for trustee
    • Moores (Wallisdown) v Pensions Ombudsman (2001) High Court – conversion of scheme from DB to DC – for scheme administrator
    • Britannic Asset Management (2002) Court of Appeal and High Court – Pensions Ombudsman’s jurisdiction – for Britannic
    • Petrochem pension scheme (2005) High Court – compromise of a deficit claim – for trustees
    • Merchant Navy Officers Pension Fund (2005) High Court – trustee’s unilateral amendment power and scope to pursue employers for deficit – for around 30 employers
    • Royal Mail Pensions Trustees v Gosling (2007) High Court – part-timer’s pension rights – for trustees
    • BNP Paribas scheme (2008) High Court – rectification of pension increase rule – for scheme pensioners
    • Pilots National Pension Fund (2010) – trustee’s unilateral amendment power, deficit legislation–for scheme pensioners.
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Memberships & Roles

  • Main Committee member, Association of Pension Lawyers (APL)
  • Chair of Pensions Ombudsman Liaison Group
  • Member and past Steering Committee member, International Pensions and Employee Benefit Lawyers Association (IPEBLA)
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  • Contributor to the Pensions Law Handbook (15th Edition), Bloomsbury Professional.
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  • 1990 - Solicitors finals, University of Northumbria, Newcastle Upon Tyne
  • 1989 – Law Degree, Hertford College, Oxford University, Oxford
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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...
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...
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...
CMS awar­ded European Pen­sions Law Firm of the Year
In­ter­na­tion­al law firm CMS has been named “European Pen­sions Law Firm of the Year” at the European Pen­sions Awards 2021. This re­cog­ni­tion fol­lows hot on the heels of the firm’s re­cent win at the...
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.
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.
Pen­sion Schemes Act 2021  - Im­port­ant new TPR powers in force from today!
Today marks the com­ing in­to force of many of the pro­vi­sions of the Pen­sion Schemes Act 2021 which strengthen the Pen­sions Reg­u­lat­or’s (TPR’s) powers and are in­ten­ded to pro­tect pen­sion schemes from...
CMS Pen­sions Law­Cast
Wel­come to the Pen­sions pod­cast and video series, 'CMS Pen­sions Law­Cast' Hos­ted by CMS Pen­sions ex­perts, this series looks ahead to the key is­sues de­vel­op­ing in the pen­sions sec­tor, with a spe­cif­ic fo­cus...
Trust­ee Know­ledge Up­date - May-Ju­ly 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...
Pen­sions Om­buds­man Up­date - Ju­ly 2021
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...
CMS crowned Pen­sions Law Firm of the Year
In­ter­na­tion­al law firm CMS is pleased to an­nounce that it has been named “Pen­sions Law Firm of the Year” at the Pen­sions Age Awards 2021. These awards re­cog­nise the pen­sions schemes and pro­viders...
Pro­tect­ing mem­bers from pen­sion scams: new re­stric­tions on trans­fers
The DWP has pub­lished a con­sulta­tion on pro­pos­als to help pro­tect pen­sion scheme mem­bers from scams. Broadly, the pro­pos­als are in­ten­ded to: al­low cer­tain low risk trans­fers to con­tin­ue on the...