Penny Cogher



Penny has considerable experience in all pension matters, with a particular focus on advising companies, international firms and their pension trustees, on their UK pension arrangements. Penny also has extensive experience of advising charities on their pension arrangements and high net worth individuals on the 2015 pension flexibilities. 

Recent highlights:

  • Advising on merging and de-merging schemes and putting in place flexible apportionment arrangements to achieve this.
  • Advising trustees on a trivial commutation exercise following the new pension tax changes.
  • Negotiating an impaired life buy in for a scheme’s pensioners.
  • Advising a group on its migration to Cyprus and the appropriate mitigation to its pension scheme.
  • Advising employers on putting in place contingent asset arrangements.
  • Advising on UK tax compliance for QROPS following the April 2015 pension tax changes. 
  • Advising on a company’s life assurance and excepted life assurance arrangements. 

Market View:

"The 'amazingly good' Penny Cogher of Irwin Mitchell has strong experience advising companies and trustees on a broad range of pensions matters." – Chambers & Partners 2016

“Penny Cogher’s advice is always well thought out and she has an excellent grasp of pension legislation” - Chambers & Partners 2014

“Penny Cogher provides practical advice based on solid knowledge of the client’s industry and the relevant areas of the law, while taking into account business needs - Legal 500 2013

Read My Comments On The Latest News

  • 08/02/2017
    Unmarried Woman Wins Supreme Court Public Sector Pension Battle

    “It seems that the courts are moving more swiftly to this position than Parliament, who have yet to embrace the idea of civil partnership for different sex couples as well (as same sex couples) who do not want to marry but want to have their relationship recognised in law. “There is therefore still some way to go before we reach the position of a “common law husband or wife” being fully recognised legally. “The Supreme court judgment only relates to public sector pension schemes. However the judgment may result in private sector schemes re-visiting their rules looking at their fairness and appropriateness in today’s society of who qualifies for a survivor’s pension. “It is not unusual for the rules of private sector schemes to contain some very arbitrary rules as to who qualifies for the survivor’s pension and often being a married husband or wife is not enough, let alone being a co-habitee. “Until private sector pension schemes review and update their rules, there will still be groups of members whose partner potentially would receive no pension benefit on the death of the member from the defined benefit (DB) scheme itself. “Therefore, if they do want their partner’s position covered, it makes sense for them to take IFA advice on looking at transferring their defined benefit pension benefits out of their employer’s scheme to their own pension plan.”

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  • 11/01/2017
    Government In Court Over Discriminatory Firefighter Pensions

    Each such discrimination case that is brought is broadly the same. They are about more generous public sector pension benefits being provided for people who are closer to retirement when a new scheme is introduced. Claimants bring age discrimination claims and equal pay claims and then women and black/ethic minorities bring indirect sex discrimination and race discrimination claims. What is interesting about the police and fire-fighters age discrimination cases is that there is an added argument that once a worker reaches around a certain age, it becomes physically difficult and potentially dangerous for them to do their job so, the agreement is, they should be able to retire earlier than other workers. In theory this should make it less easy for their employer to be able to objectively justify changes to their retirement ages and pleading financial necessity may not be enough as a defence. Both aspects of these claims will be heavily scrutinised.

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  • 01/12/2016
    Irwin Mitchell Announced As A Pensions Age Awards Finalist

    “The world of pensions is a minefield at the moment, with continued changes in legislation and regulation including pension funding, mastertrusts and pensions fraud and we have been working hard to keep our clients up to speed. We are delighted to have been recognized for this role.”

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  • 23/11/2016
    Autumn Statement 2016

    "Once again we see a Chancellor targeting the wrong end of the housing market, and promising to spend a lot of money to little purpose. The government set a target of building 1 million new homes over the five years of this Parliament. A present rate of construction, they will be at least 300,000 homes short of the target. Even if this cash injection delivered an extra 140,000 homes, it would not bridge the shortfall from the target the government is already missing. More likely, measures such as cash for homes etc. will simply further bid up the price of the existing inadequate supply, so much of Mr Hammond's funding will simply transfer money from the taxpayer to the house builders, with little additional housing to show for it. Disappointingly, there was no mention at all of retirement housing. Mr Hammond could have had a far greater effect on supply of housing if he had incentivised the construction of retirement living and care homes. If just half of the elderly people who say they want to downsize their property were to do so, that would release 3,500,000 homes onto the market. That is something like five Parliaments' supply at current rates of construction. The land take for such a construction program will be far less than needed for a comparable supply of ordinary housing and much of it could be on brownfield site instead of on the Greenfields that NIMBYs hold so dear."

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