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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.
"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
"It seems incongruous to have one rule for public sector pension funds and another rule for many company DB schemes, purely because of the precise wording of their rules. If the Government is serious about helping British companies, it should surely insist on a standardized approach and provide a statutory override of indexation for occupational DB pension schemes. The Government admitted RPI was out of date when in last November’s Budget it announced that business rate rises would be linked to CPI, not RPI as previously, following pressure from industry lobbies. It's time the pensions industry also put on this pressure so we don't see a repeat of the some of the enormous pension fund disasters that we've seen with companies such as Carillion, for whom meeting their pension fund obligation has proved to be yet another nail in the coffin."
“This case highlights the changes of attitude as regards the rights of same sex couples in 2004 compared to now. In 2004, when the Civil Partnership Act was running through Parliament it was novel legislation whereas now society expects employers to treat their employees who are in same sex relationships in exactly the same way as employees who are heterosexual couples. The Supreme Court’s decision won’t provoke an outcry – it is the type of judgment one would expect in a modern society, with human rights law being carefully used to fill any gaps and push the law in a progressive direction. It shows the Supreme Court is not so out of touch with today’s social norms as people say.”
“Looking back now with today’s concerns with gig economy workers being treated like second class citizens, this original exclusion looks extraordinary, as does the fact that it took eight years to gain the successful challenge in the ECJ. It is a shame the case continues to rumble on and the Supreme Court was not firmer in yesterday’s judgement about Mr O’Brien’s position. The cost of the Ministry of Justice pursuing this action, with two referrals to the ECJ seems to be disproportionate and is probably not one which another UK employer would take.”
“Cross-border funding, such a key issue for Indyref 1, would fall away as an issue now that the UK is bent on leaving the EU.
“Instead Brexit may result in two different regulatory pension systems – one EU-based for pension schemes based in Scotland, and one not. Pension schemes do not have their own legal entity – they are based where their trustees are based. We may find Schemes could arbitrage where they are based and so which systems of laws they must comply with. They may prefer to be in a non-EU regulation-based environment, or they might want to take advantage of Scotland's more pragmatic laws for executing documents, making documents much less expensive than in the UK.
“There is also a question as to whether Scottish-based schemes will be able to afford their own Pension Protection Fund, and whether Edinburgh as the heart of the financial services industry can expect special terms from England on independence.
“We could also see greater divergence between Scots public sector pension schemes and the English-based schemes than we have already. State pension schemes could also diverge, as the SNP has stated it wants to upgrade state pensions in Scotland if it can."
“One area of opportunity could be QROPS, the qualifying recognised overseas pension scheme whose tax advantages were curtailed for UK citizens in the recent Budget. Could Scotland become the new home of a new type of QROPS?"
“Whatever happens, there certainly will be a period of confusion and adjusting – maybe something the industry could just do without at the moment, given the recent onslaught it has faced.”
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