The industry is responding with increasingly sophisticated arrangements to protect members’ data and manage relationships with a variety of professional service providers. But the legal implications of these arrangements need careful consideration.
Our wider pension scheme administration and governance offering, provides high-quality, bespoke legal support to trustees and employers in two high priority specialist areas:
- Outsourcing pension scheme activities and other commercial contracts with third party providers.
- Data protection and scheme data security.
The pensions industry now contains a huge variety of third party providers offering to help with the demands of pension scheme management. Alongside the traditional scheme administrators, actuaries, auditors, accountants, investment managers and lawyers, there may now be appointments with communications and benefit consultants, covenant assessors, independent financial advisers, professional trustees, scheme secretaries and the like. Each appointment needs a written contract – and while some are straightforward, requiring only limited legal input, others are complex.
Our lawyers are experts in helping you put these contracts in place and manage them. We like to work collaboratively with our clients, building up long-lasting partnerships that mean we know our clients' priorities and how they work. Our Pensions specialists work seamlessly with our experienced commercial lawyers, providing pensions outsourcing, contracts and provider management clients with fully integrated support on a wide range of issues in this area, including:
- drawing up supplier selection criteria and assisting with tendering and procurement processes to reflect your objectives
- assisting you to determine the scope specified in selection documentations and to review scopes proposed by suppliers
- contributing our experience and pensions market insights to your assessment of candidates
- reviewing and negotiating legal terms to ensure appropriate allocations of risk and responsibility with new providers
- outsourcing scheme administration and secretarial services, including benefits manuals and member booklet reviews
- assisting clients to manage issues arising during the contracting cycle (such as service transformation or service refresh projects, addressing performance issues, and exit and transition arrangements).
- resolving disputes with third party providers
Data security is already a major source of reputational and legal risk, and is now higher up the agenda since the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force in the UK. Inevitably, pension schemes, employers and their advisers find themselves working with large amounts of scheme personal data, some of which is highly sensitive.
Our Pensions specialists provide pensions clients with fully integrated support on a wide range of issues in this area, including:
- compliance issues arising from the EU General Data Protection Regulation, such as the new obligation of "privacy by design and by default"
- reviewing and updating data protection policies, procedures and communications
- data protection and security measures on ill health pension applications and discrimination cases
- how to meet the minimum standards required by law when making pension scheme personal data available to service providers or to employers
- mechanisms for ensuring legal compliance when transferring pension scheme personal data outside the EEA (e.g. to administrators and their sub-contractors)
- how to respond to cyber-attack and other data losses.
We participate in a wide range of pensions industry groups. See our full list of industry appointments.