Thirty quit Freshfields for pensions payout

Thirty partners are set to quit Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer on 1 November to take advantage of favourable pension terms.

Partners who are aged 50 or above had until today (31 July) to exercise the option to retire from the partnership with effect from 31 October in order to lock in their entitlement to the magic circle firm’s old pension scheme. Of the partners who were eligible for the package, nearly a third took up the offer.

Freshfields’ co-senior partner Guy Morton told The Lawyer: “We’re pleased that we’ve got to the end of the long and winding road of pension reform. We’ve agreed changes that will ensure certainty and avoid collateral damage.”

To ensure a smooth transitionary period and minimum disruption to clients, those partners who have chosen to retire at the end of October have been given the option to become consultants with the firm for between six months and two years.

Consultants will receive a salary, but will not get pension payments until their employment ceases with the firm.

As first reported by The Lawyer (10 April), Freshfields radically overhauled its partners’ pension scheme, with some accepting that they may receive as little as 60-65 per cent of their entitlement.

Under the new scheme partners will receive an index-linked amount per point over a period of at least 10 years, after which payments will be reduced to zero.

Freshfields previously operated an unfunded pension scheme, whereby contributions were made into the funds out of annual profit subject to a 10 per cent cap on annual profit.