Daniel is Head of Pensions at Travers Smith. He advises on all aspects of pensions law, acting for trustees and employers as well as parties to corporate activity, including in distress and restructuring situations. He is also an expert on corporate social responsibility and diversity and inclusion – within the corporate environment and beyond and sits on Travers Smith's Diversity and Inclusion Board.
Daniel works on some of the UK’s most complex and, in his view, most interesting pension funds, including with the trustees or employer sponsors of funds associated with Akzo Nobel, AXA, the Bank of England, Clarks Shoes, Gatwick Airport, ITN, Reach plc (formerly Trinity Mirror) and Willis Towers Watson.
Working with colleagues from across our Pensions Sector, Daniel's practice covers all aspects of pensions law, including strategic advice to trustees, employers and other stakeholders about pension funds, employer covenant and security for occupational schemes, pensions aspects of corporate transactions and reorganisations - including distress and restructuring situations, changes to benefit structures, risk management - including buy-ins and longevity insurance - and mergers, as well as questions about member benefits and handling all types of pensions related claims and disputes.
Daniel's focus is on providing practical, solution-driven advice in a collaborative and straightforward way. His recent work includes advising:
- A range of trustees, employers and other stakeholders on scheme funding and employer covenant issues including in relation to corporate activity, returns of capital and other changes to the sponsor group, together with a variety of associated covenant enhancement arrangements including guarantees and security structures.
- A trustee client on a complex buy-in of the bulk of its pensioner obligations, and several other trustees on buy-ins and buy-outs.
- A number of trustees and employers on a range of other liability and risk limitation exercises, including longevity insurance contracts, longevity adjustment factors, pension increase exchanges and transfer exercises.
- The trustees of a £5 billion multi-section pension scheme on closure to future accrual of defined benefits and the transition of all active members to a DC section within the scheme, together with many other trustees and employers on (often complex) scheme closures.
- A very large employer in relation to the creation of an innovative new CARE pension arrangement with significant member and employer flexibilities and on its roll-out to several thousand staff over an 18 month period.
- Trustees, employers and providers on a variety of issues relating to new and existing DC arrangements, including automatic enrolment, tax allowances, and flexible options for taking DC and cash-balance benefits.
Daniel is ranked highly in Chambers UK, which describes him as "a pleasure to deal with, pragmatic but technically excellent and solutions-focused" with a "sharp intellect" and "commended for his personable approach and client focus". Legal 500 reports that he is a "delight to work with" and highlights his "ability to guide the trustee through complex issues".
Daniel regularly speaks at seminars and courses for trustees and employers, as well as for lawyers and other pensions professionals. He participates in a number of industry groups, including serving as chair of the Society of Pension Professionals' Legislation Committee.
Away from pensions, Daniel was for a several years Travers Smith’s partner for Corporate Social Responsibility, leading the firm’s charitable, community engagement and legal pro bono initiatives. He is a trustee of several charities and is involved with a number of development projects in his local community. He has a particular interest in education and youth work, having served as a school governor for over 10 years, and actively supports a number of related projects, including sitting on the board of Young Person's Homelessness charity City YMCA and an education and social development project for children affected by AIDS/HIV in Southern Africa, as well as being a trustee of Just Like Us (an LGBT+ charity for young people). He also helped found Refugees at Home – a national charity providing free accommodation for refugees and asylum seekers and sits on its board.
Daniel is also one of the firm’s lead partners for diversity and inclusion, sitting on our Diversity and Inclusion Board and chairing our LGBT+ group. Daniel is a founding member of the National LGBT Solicitors Committee at The Law Society of England and Wales and recently launched a mentoring programme for LGBT+ university students from across the country in partnership with Just Like Us. He has been named by the Financial Times and OUTstanding as one of the leading 100 LGBT Executives worldwide for the last three years in a row, including ranking 15th out of 100 in this year's list, and he was also named as a 'Top 10 LGBT+ Inspirational Leader' in the British LGBT Awards 2017 and recognised by the ‘Pink News Awards’ as one of their Leading Corporate Role Models for 2018.