Richard provides focused, pragmatic, advice to companies and pension scheme trustees across the full range of pensions issues - from moral hazard investigations and corporate restructurings to correcting past errors in scheme documentation, de-risking and wind-up, as well as the full range of ‘business as usual’ matters.

He has particular recent experience in resolving extensive historic legal documentation issues for a number of schemes, both on an ongoing basis and as part of de-risking (buy-in and buy-out) and wind-up work.

Richard leads Burges Salmon’s work on cyber security for pension schemes.

Richard is dual qualified in Northern Ireland and England and Wales and is a full member of the Association of Pension Lawyers. He is a member of the Pension Regulator’s diversity and inclusion working group.

Outside work Richard is a trustee of the Bristol Aero Collection Trust, the charity behind Aerospace Bristol.

  • Advising the trustees of the Brunel Holdings Pension Scheme and acting as the main point of contact with the Pensions Regulator for a high-profile moral hazard investigation involving a financial support direction being sought against a UK and overseas listed plc.
  • Advising trustees in relation to innovative proposals by the struggling employer in order to avoid insolvency and protect members' jobs. This work was in a highly contentious area and involved detailed negotiations with the Regulator, the Pension Protection Fund and taking advice from a leading QC.
  • Advising a company on detailed negotiations with pension scheme trustees to successfully resolve a complex and controversial pensions issue, leading the responsible director at the client to comment that: 'I find the Burges Salmon pensions team, expertly led by for us by Richard Pettit, to be the epitome of professionalism. Richard and his team have assisted us in firstly understanding then identifying a solution to a particularly complex pensions case.'
  • Advising a manufacturing company with a pension scheme with a £60 million deficit on the entry of the scheme into the Pension Protection Fund, involving applying to the Regulator for clearance and an approval notice for a regulated apportionment arrangement and negotiations with the Pension Protection Fund.
  • Advising scheme trustees on urgent actions to protect member benefits in the light of the potential loss of employer assets from the jurisdiction, including steps to ensure Insolvency Act protection and liaising with the Pensions Regulator.
  • Providing legal advice to scheme trustees on the mitigation being sought in relation to a £2.3 billion restructuring of the supporting employer group – including advising on regulatory clearance, court approval and the legal position in a number of overseas jurisdictions.

What others say...

Richard Pettit is a brilliant pensions lawyer who really knows his stuff and is a pleasure to deal with. Pragmatic and sensible.

Legal 500 2024