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Wragge & Co is set to dedicate a team to pensions litigation after the firm announces that it has secured work setting up a new pensions scheme for MG Rover.
Insurance partner Peter Shave has moved to the pensions department to focus on pension litigation. Given the growing volume of pensions litigation work, Shave intends to increase the involvement in ombudsmen cases by members of the non-contentious team, but realises that this can only be a short-term measure. He says: "If this strong growth continues, we won't want to take [the non-contentious lawyers] away from other work, and so would need to recruit externally."
In entering the pensions litigation market, Wragges will be pitching for work against Birmingham rival Eversheds, where partner Giles Orton has a very strong reputation in the field.
Shave has already acted for Leicester-based manufacturing company Texon and multinational General Engineering in contentious work.
Existing clients of the Wragges pensions department in non-contentious work include Peugeot, Britannica Assurance, British Airways and engineering group TI.
The new pension scheme for MG Rover, set up by the Phoenix Consortium, which bought the Longbridge plant from BMW, will provide ongoing work to the pensions department. Glyn Ryland, head of Wragges' pension group, believes that the value should be in the range of £100m-£300m, although the final amount is dependant on how much is paid in by workers.
British Energy (BE) is losing its in-house head of commercial law to Wragges. Beverley Sullivan joins Wragges as a partner in its utilities team. Prior to joining BE, Sullivan was head of legal at Nuclear Electric. She and Derek Goodban, who was hired from National Grid last June, further strengthen Wragges' 28-member utilities team, which saw its turnover increase by 70 per cent last year. Wragges counts BE among its utilities clients.