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Overview

Mr Philip Bennett

Visiting Professor of Pensions Law


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Visiting Professor of Pensions Law in the Durham Law School  

Biography

Philip Bennett joined Durham Law School as Visiting Professor of Pensions Law in September 2019. Prior to joining the Law School, Philip was a partner in the Pensions, Employment and Employee Benefits Group of Slaughter and May, a leading London law firm, for more than 30 years. He is a graduate of Durham University.

His experience included advising on some of the largest pension scheme mergers and restructurings, repayments of surplus and management of deficit issues (including benefit design changes and consultations with employees and their representatives over those changes). Philip is listed in the Pensions Section Hall of Fame of the Legal 500 United Kingdom, 2017.

Engagement, Publications and Research

Philip’s recent public engagements, publications and research activities and interests include:

● March 2022: Response to the Pensions Regulator’s consultation document on “A Code of Practice for authorisation and supervision of collective money purchase schemes”

● January 2022: Cambridge Law Journal book review of “Pensions and Legal Policy: Lessons on the Shift from Public to Private” by Amanda Cooke, available here.


● November 2021: Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment: Webinar “Green Bonds and the Greenium: Helping to finance a just transition to net zero or just virtue-signalling, greenwashing and, on the buy side, breach of fiduciary duty?” (with Neil Brown, Chief Risk Officer, Earth Capital Limited).


● November 2021: Association of Pension Lawyers Annual Conference: “Climate Change: Focus on the New Governance and Reporting Requirements” (Chair: Philip Bennett. Speakers: Tony Raymond and Alison Winstanley, the Pensions Regulator and Thomas Tayler of Aviva).


● November 2021: EU Lawlive: Op-Ed: (with Hans van Meerten): “EU Pension Taxation: Removing Another Brick in the Wall?”, available here.


● October 2021: Trust Law International article “Would it be a Breach of a Pension Fund Trustee’s Investment Duties to invest in ‘Green Gilts’?”, available here


● July 2021: Response to the Pensions Regulator’s consultation on “Guidance on governance and reporting of climate-related risks and opportunities”.


● July 2021: “Green Gilts and the Greenium: Value for money, virtue, signalling or breach of trust”: Pensions Institute Commentary, available here.


● June 2021: Talk and paper for the Association of Pensions Lawyers Virtual Summer Conference: “Would it be a breach of a pension fund trustee’s investment duties to invest in “Green Gilts” at a “Greenium”?”.


● June 2021 IPEBLA comparative law paper and webinar “Overview of the legal issues in the decumulation phase for DC Plan members in Australia, Canada, the UK and the US”. Editor, moderator and organiser: Philip Bennett. Country authors: Ruth Stringer, Herbert Smith Freehills, Australia, Michael Wolpert, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, Canada, Sandy Maudgil Slaughter and May, UK and Susan Wetzel, Haines and Boone LLP, USA.

● May 2021: “A Briefing Note on Discount Rates, Defined Benefit Pension Schemes, and their Sponsors”: Co-authors Philip Bennett, Iain Clacher, Alan Duboisée de Ricquebourg, Mark C. Freeman, Con Keating.

● January 2021: “Bauer and beyond: The changing interpretation of Article 8 of Directive 2008/94/EC (Protection of employees’ pension rights on employer insolvency) and its impact on Member State pension protection and arrangements on employer insolvency” with Hans van Meerten – Utrecht Centre for Regulation and Enforcement in Europe, available here.

● January 2021: IPEBLA comparative law paper and webinar “Overview of the legal rules on the extent to which ESG factors may/must be taken into account by DB and DC pension plan fiduciaries/trustees in Canada, the Netherlands, the UK and the US”. Editor, moderator and organiser: Philip Bennett. Speakers and country authors: Randy Baslaugh, McCarthy Tetrault, Canada, Eva Schram, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, The Netherlands, Stuart O’Brien, Sackers, UK and David Powell, Groom Law Group, USA.

● September 2020: Response to the Pensions Regulator’s Consultation Document “Defined benefit funding code of practice”- available here

● February- May 2020: Talks to the pensions practice groups of a number of law firms on the following topics:

“Is it prudent for trustees to invest in long dated bonds in a rigged market?”

“Are sex differentiated actuarial factors in UK occupational pension schemes lawful?”

“Some ramifications of the ECJ decision in Bauer (19th December, 2019) on protecting DB benefits of employees of insolvent employers”

● January 2019: Provision of a detailed response to the Department for Work and Pensions Public Consultation on “Delivering Collective Defined Contribution Pension Schemes”

● January 2019: Trust Law International article “Must an occupational pension scheme take into account ESG factors, even if there is a risk of financial detriment to the pension fund?

● June 2018: response to the Department for Work and Pensions Consultation on Clarifying and Strengthening Trustees’ Investment Duties.

● March 2018: appearing as an expert witness before the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee Consultation CDC Schemes, available here

● February 2018: expert evidence to the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee Consultation CDC Schemes, available here

Teaching

Michaelmas Term Office Hours:Tuesdays 10 am -12 noon UK time via Zoom. Please email me for the Zoom link.

Epiphany Term Office Hours: By appointment 

Easter Term Office Hours: By appointment