Pension Protection Fund closes in on legal panel following delay

The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) is gearing up to unveil its new-look legal panel following a delayed process to shrink its 27-firm roster.

David Taylor
David Taylor

The fund, which compensates members of defined-benefit pension schemes in the case of an employer’s insolvency, kicked off the tendering for its panel early this year and confirmed it is close to finalising the list.

The original plan, first reported by The Lawyer in 2011, involved piloting the use of a sharing agreement with regulatory bodies such the FSA, the Office of the Rail Regulator, the OFT and the Civil Aviation Authority, with twelve watchdogs given access to the panel firms on the same terms (10 October 2011).

The PPF was unable to confirm whether this proposal had been shelved, but a spokesperson for the fund said the procedure of appointing the panel had “taken longer than we originally anticipated”, adding that it was “close to completing the process”.

The current panel was set up in 2007, comprising firms including Addleshaw Goddard, legacy Barlow Lyde & Gilbert (now Clyde & Co), Berwin Leighton Paisnerand Herbert Smith. The PPF was set up under the Pensions Act 2004.

The review under consideration since 2011 would have cut the roster to a core panel of around three in addition to other sub-panels.

The process is being carried out by director of strategy and legal affairs David Taylor. It comes as part of a drive by the PPF to provide increased certainty for its members and push pension schemes through PPF assessment and Financial Assistance Scheme wind-up faster and more efficiently.

At the same time, it is also establishing an assessment process legal panel as well as a trustee advisory panel and a panel of auditors.