Pensions Services

Vialex is alive to the pension industry challenges. We help cut through the complexity, explain what the regulation means in practice, save you time and money, and protect the reputation of your business

Once upon a time pensions were relatively simple. People had a pension scheme through their employer, or the state catered for their needs. The Self-employed had retirement accounts, often containing guarantees. Then life became complicated. Pension providers, trustees and employers consulted lawyers, and legislation was passed. Personal pensions underwent a revolution, and the sector was dogged by scandals including pension transfers, Robert Maxwell and the Mirror Group pension fund, and Equitable Life. Nowadays criminal offences for risking accrued scheme benefits and not paying employer debts to pension scheme on time are issues to avoid.

In 2006 pensions went through a simplification exercise, and since then there has been further legislation, and further court cases establishing what simplification meant.

Managing legal risk

Since “A-Day” in 2006, pensions have been regulated by HMRC and the FCA. Risks and issues have led to questions for lawyers to answer on establishing, operating, and administering pension products and pension schemes. Creating pension products involves risk, as does investing through pension arrangements.

Legal risk is managed whenever pensions regulation complexity, pension scheme investment, unauthorised payments and the contractual nexus supporting pension schemes are considered. This makes for a kaleidoscopic regulatory framework for the pension professional to take into account.

Occasionally this means pension professionals find that they might have done things better and have to respond to regulator scrutiny, or face up to the pension’s ombudsmen, FOS, or the courts.

How Vialex can help

Vialex Head of Financial Services, Scott Moncur, has years of practical experience gained within the industry. Scott learned his craft at major pension providers and has seen issues in pension schemes set up since the 1950’s. He was immersed in defined benefit design and regulation, saw the first “e” pensions through to market, the rise of SIPP and premature demise of SSAS, and then the pension wrapper within platforms. Since then, the work place pension has taken over from the old school occupational pension scheme.

Today, the pace of legislative change is bewildering and so access to experienced, commercially minded advisers is important. Most businesses want to be seen as innovative and plan a step or two ahead of the status quo. There are many relationships to manage to make the pension professional’s business thrive. We use cutting edge knowledge services to help us get to the heart of each issue.

Vialex is alive to the pension industry challenges. We help cut through the complexity, explain what the regulation means in practice, save you time and money and protect the reputation of your business.

Our services include many specialisms but everything we do is underpinned by our knowledge and experience of general pension law and regulation. We understand and address the market and regulatory requirements. We have worked within businesses and appreciate keenly the impact of risk. Risk is inherent in all business and managing it well should mean the issues that arise will be fewer. We have embraced a risk-based approach to our advice, and we are involved in a diverse range of businesses in the sector, and the suppliers that support them.

We have a proven track record in advising and working with pension professionals and providers, intermediaries and other industry participants. We offer our clients a competitive advantage by providing seamless legal services which reflect a combination of our team’s corporate, commercial, regulatory, prudential and investigation skills, matched with a deep knowledge and understanding of financial markets and regulators.

The law makes our business: we use it to make yours sustainable and profitable. We want you to have legal advice that makes for business solutions for your product and service delivery or governance and infrastructure framework.

Specific areas of advice

We have a vast range of experience of the business cycle of pension schemes and pension products, and the relationships that determine success.

Regulators. Everyone strives for that relationship to work well. Sometimes it doesn’t. We can help you determine what is good practice for you and good management of the regulator’s interest in your business or people.

Pension providers and schemes rely on service providers to deliver its products benefits and services.

Economics determines if outsourcing or insourcing is an answer to immediate needs. The operating model has to work, because doing things right first time is the best economic model.

Whatever customer needs you are meeting, whether corporate or individual, the pension arrangement has to have its governing or constitutional documentation intact and up to date.

Scheme providers and administrators may need help in writing or updating the governing documentation.

We offer answers and advice to product providers and  trustees on their responsibilities and  liabilities of their positions.

In practical terms we can help with your operational model. Avoiding unauthorised payments is wise, investments and entitlement clearly mapped so that pension expectation and entitlements match.

All pension schemes arrangements rely to some extent on other business to deliver its products and services. Economics determines if outsourcing or insourcing is an answer to immediate needs.

If you want help cutting through the jargon of outsourcing, insourcing and procurement in this context, we are here to help.

What we did for...

It was important to us that our legal advisers were aligned to our business values, and we were impressed by the approach Vialex took to support our business by offering a ‘virtual’ in-house legal team who look after our day-to-day legal needs.

George Tait - Director and Company Secretary

We have worked with Vialex since 2012, following our buyout from a major UK foods group, when our fast evolving business required a different approach to meet our legal services needs in a cost effective way. At the time it was something of a leap of faith for Quorn Foods but we have been delighted with the service from Vialex, and the appetite they have shown to support us in any way they can.

David Artindale - Head of Procurement
We use the Vialex Legal Counsel Service as our day-to-day support for all our contracts and legal issues. They act as an extension of our own team and work with us to help us achieve our commercial goals. The subscription means we can get the advice we need when we need it for a fixed cost.

Arceeb Moughal - Director of Commercial

The Vialex Legal Counsel Service does what it says on the tin. We get a quality legal support service that responds to our needs, very often working to short timescales. The Vialex team has been particularly instrumental in assisting with our international contractual arrangements as we expand our reach into a number of new overseas markets.

Richard Miles - Chief Financial Officer
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Our pensions services team (key contact)

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