Ex-Lazards men to advise pension trusts

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The Independent Online

Two former Lazard investment bankers have set up a UK consultancy designed solely to advise and represent pension fund trustees. Penfida Partners has been designed to capitalise on changes to UK pension laws, which give trustees more power and responsibility - and which are likely to generate a greater demand for independent advice.

Jonathan Dawson and Paul Jameson, a pair of former senior Lazard bankers who have both chaired the pension schemes of their former employer, will present a direct challenge to established firms such as Watson Wyatt and Alexander Forbes, who often provide advice for both employers and trustees.

The UK has more than £650bn in private sector pension schemes, and a collective deficit of almost £100bn. Under rules introduced last year, trustees now have the power to demand that their employers supply responsible funding plans for their pensions, and can also potentially be held liable if they do not adequately protect the interests of their pension scheme members.

Mr Dawson said: "We believe trustees are increasingly keen to seek independent professional financial advice in the new environment, and our initial soundings bear this out. With our unique personal experience, Penfida will provide the analytical and advisory experience and resource to put trustees on an equal footing in their negotiations and dealings with the corporate sponsor."

Mr Jameson added: "We [hope to add] material value to the process of addressing the issues facing pension fund trustees, whilst at the same time enabling those trustees to demonstrate to their members and to the Pensions Regulator that they have taken the necessary independent financial advice."