Travers Smith LLP has announced two new senior promotions in its award-winning Pensions Sector Group. Effective from 1 July, Niamh Hamlyn becomes a Pensions Partner, and Chris Widdison will be promoted to Pensions Senior Counsel.
Niamh's promotion brings the core Pensions partnership to six and the number of partners who spend the majority of their time advising pensions clients (including on covenant, de-risking and investment) into double digits. Chris's promotion further strengthens the team of other very senior lawyers (consultants and counsel) to seven in the firm's core Pensions team.
These promotions reflect the Pensions Sector Group's success and growth in recent years. As well as cutting-edge work for its pensions clients and significant contributions to industry bodies and thought leadership (including in D&I and ESG), in 2021 the firm won six major industry awards, including Pensions Law Firm of the Year, D&I Excellence and Mentoring.
Niamh Hamlyn has over ten years' experience advising pension scheme trustees, sponsoring employers and insurers on a wide range of pensions issues. These include strategic funding negotiations, M&A activity, scheme restructurings, ESG, benefit design and liability management. Niamh has particular expertise in pensions risk transfer, including advising on transactions worth over £1billion. In 2020, Niamh was shortlisted for "Rising Star of the Year" at the Professional Pensions Rising Star Awards. She sits on the PMI London Group Committee and is an active member of Travers Smith's Sustainability Working Group. She also has experience as a charity trustee and has extensively supported Travers Smith's work on CSR and D&I.
Chris Widdison provides advice on a broad spectrum of pensions matters to trustees, corporate sponsors, and other stakeholders, with a primary focus on deploying his strong technical ability to provide clear, actionable, and commercial guidance. Chris has experience advising on a wide range of matters, including buy-ins, buy-outs and other innovative de-risking transactions, valuation exercises, large-scale benefit change exercises and liability management exercises, closures to accrual, and transfers of scheme assets to master trust arrangements. He also advises on pensions tax matters (and has helped author industry-wide guidance in this area), asset-backed funding arrangements, automatic enrolment obligations, and complex member disputes. Chris is a trustee of Brighter Futures Zambia, one of Travers Smith's longstanding charity partners, and is actively involved in our pro bono legal work and broader CSR programme.
These promotions follow the recent lateral hires of Pensions Senior Counsel Harriet Sayer and Pensions Associates Gaurav Srivastava and Sabrina Pervez.
Daniel Gerring, Partner and Head of Pensions at Travers Smith, said: "Huge congratulations to both Niamh and Chris - two extremely talented lawyers and highly valued members of our team. Our award-winning Pensions Sector Group has gone from strength to strength more than anything else by investing in our people and it is a great joy to see this reflected in Niamh and Chris's promotions. This growth in our most senior team reflects our position as a market-leading practice and will support us in continuing to provide the best possible service to our clients, as well as contributing to the wider pensions and lifetime savings community."