Charles has been commended for his focus on achieving consensus among the members of the trustee boards on which he has sat (as chair or otherwise) and a collaborative approach to relations with sponsoring employers
Areas of expertise
- Investments – membership of investment committees and implementation of LDI (liability driven investment) and de-risking strategies.
- Re-structuring – closure to future accrual, mergers, buy-ins, buy-outs, longevity insurance and winding-up.
- Secured EFRBS (employer financed retirement benefit schemes) involving many different security structures.
- Other – funding negotiations, selection of trustee board members, advisers and service providers, CPI/RPI issues, correction of errors and discretionary benefit decisions.
- Taking on the chairmanship of a trustee board which was at loggerheads with the sponsor, gaining the confidence of the trustee directors and establishing a more professional, business-like relationship between the trustee board and the sponsor.
- Helping to persuade reluctant employers to support trustees in reducing risk by increasing interest rate and inflation hedging.
- Completing the winding up of a number of pension schemes (sponsored by both solvent and insolvent employers), often in challenging circumstances, including one of the Maxwell schemes.
- Devising and implementing an early pension increase exchange exercise (in 2005 for a scheme in winding up where members’ benefits were being abated).
- Guiding a trustee board through a process which resulted in an agreement (in the special circumstances of the particular scheme) with the sponsor to increase pensions in line with the CPI instead of the RPI, even though some members of the trustee board would themselves suffer financially.
- Persuading a sponsor to agree to cash commutation factors being improved and to members being given the right to apply the whole of their AVC pots towards their pension commencement lump sums.
- Participating in the successful completion of a number of buy-in and buy-out annuity transactions.
- Completing successful reorganisations of the security arrangements of a number secured EFRBS.
- Charles is currently Law Debenture’s lead representative on the trustee boards and investment committees of a number of defined benefit pension schemes ranging in value from about £180m to about £650m.
- He is also the lead representative of Law Debenture in its capacity as sole trustee of 15 EFRBS (secured by charges over real property, gilts, unit trusts, ETFs and cash or by bank letters of credi) and a number of other special or limited purpose arrangements
Professional roles and qualifications
- Before joining Law Debenture in 1997, Charles practised as a solicitor at Allen & Overy for 19 years, including 12 years as a partner. He specialised in transactional and advisory work in the corporate, commercial and financial sectors, including a range of corporate trustee work.
- Charles qualified as a solicitor in 1978.
- For some years he was a member and then secretary of the commercial law sub-committee of the City of London Law Society.