SERVICES

Specialist Retirement Fund Legal Practice

  • Practising attorney in pension and employment benefits law
  • Independent trustee
  • Training for administrators/trustees – pension law and governance”

 


 

Practising Attorney

Full range of services of a specialist pension and benefits attorney with over 18 years of experience in the field. Over the past 6 years has practised independently as a pension and benefits advisor and attorney, a trustee and lecturer. Formerly a partner at Webber Wentzel.

 

“What is often lacking in retirement fund practice where problems arise is access to a combination of independence and expertise coupled with a practical and thorough problem solving approach. Beyond the standard range of pension law services listed below, I am particularly well placed to provide strategic advice and assistance, free of any conflicts of interest and cost effectively, at the breakdown points and when disputes arise. While I act in the courts, in arbitrations, and in matters before the Pension Funds Adjudicator, my more typical intervention and preferred approach, which has often been successful in the past, is to resolve issues before they require such intervention.”

 

Work undertaken in the recent past includes:

  • investigation and advice to a bargaining council fund, with arbitration thereafter, on recovery of loss following fraud and collapse of an asset manager
  • drafting tripartite agreement between the valuator, actuarial services company and a sectoral fund
  • drafting rules for restructuring the management of a Fund
  • investigation, report and recommendations to a bargaining council fund on undisclosed conflicts of interests on the board
  • drafting opinions on the treatment of unclaimed benefits and the intricacies of surplus apportionment
  • reviewing fund policies on investments, audit, communications, trustee conduct , and unclaimed benefits
  • the recovery of losses in relation to Section 14 transfers where negligence has occurred; facilitating transfers to new administrators following unsatisfactory service;
  • dealing with losses and disputes which have arisen consequent upon the outsourcing of benefits;
  • challenging valuations and surplus apportionment schemes;
  • interposing between funds and insurers on risk benefit claims;
  • mediating and litigating in relation to disputes arising at board level and the removal of trustees; handling difficult claims by former members;
  • advising on fund closure and liquidation issues;
  • dealing with claims alleging maladministration by an administrator;
  • bulking issues;
  • advising on awkward death benefit distributions; and
  • handling claims regarding the negligent management of investments on Section 14 transfers.

 


 

Independent Trustee Service

5 years experience as an independent trustee on 4 umbrella funds. Specialised skills in the capacity of trustee are acquaintance with pension law, fund rules and policies, governance and compliance issues and risk management.

Certificate in Investment and Finance (with distinction) (Wits) 2012.

 


 

Facilitator/ trainer in Pension Law and Governance

From 2007 to 2011 ran the Legal Framework of Retirement Funds and the Governance modules for the Monash University post-graduate Diploma in Management (Retirement Funds) with students from various administrators, privately administered funds and the Regulator. Is available to provide structured short seminars or training sessions on retirement funding law and governance, including updates on the regulatory environment) to trustees and other groups within the industry.

 


 

Legal Services provided to retirement funds, service providers, employers, members and other parties

  • Dispute resolution including mediation and arbitration, the courts· and the Pension Funds Adjudicator
  • Employment Law advice particularly regarding fund conversions and transfers of business
  • Overseeing transfers of pension fund business
  • Advice on conversions, transfers and liquidation of funds
  • Reviewing and updating rules
  • Surplus apportionment
  • Trustee fiduciary obligations and liability
  • Investment policies and contracts
  • Governance audits and legal due diligence
  • Service provider agreements
  • Medical Schemes
  • Disability claims
  • Death benefit distribution
  • Retirement benefit tax
  • Housing loan schemes
  • Unclaimed benefits
  • Constitutional and discrimination law
  • Representations and interposing with the various authorities
  • Fiduciary obligations of professional advisors
  • Principal Officer duties

 


 

Some niche services are:

  • acting in pension fund related arbitrations
  • drafting and reviewing of contracts that enhance pension fund security esp. service provider and service level agreements
  • preparing and reviewing fund policies
  • advising on fiduciary duties and undertaking investigations into governance lapses such as hidden conflicts of interest
  • providing opinions on difficult or novel questions of law
  • mediating or arbitrating disputes
  • risk management and regulatory compliance including regulation 28
  • service provider liability

 


 

Fee structure is flexible on a graduated scale for individuals, funds and employers/institutions respectively