Pension trustee claims against advisers (professional negligence)
Produced in partnership with Oliver Hilton of Radcliffe Chambers

The following Pensions practice note produced in partnership with Oliver Hilton of Radcliffe Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Pension trustee claims against advisers (professional negligence)
  • Appointment of professional advisers
  • The essential elements to any claim
  • A professional adviser's obligation/duty of care
  • Breach—the standard of care
  • Loss
  • Fiduciaries
  • Where outcome of litigation is relevant to professional negligence claim
  • Practical considerations for trustees
  • Limitation periods
  • More...

Pension trustee claims against advisers (professional negligence)


Running a pension scheme can be a particularly challenging and onerous task for pension scheme trustees, especially in respect of large schemes consisting of numerous employers and members and a significant fund (and/or deficit).

As a result, pension trustees usually appoint professional advisers for assistance, guidance and advice on matters beyond their expertise or capacity and otherwise as a convenient and prudent means to help administer the scheme.

In some cases, trustees are legally required to appoint professional advisers (eg the requirement to appoint an auditor, actuary, fund manager and legal adviser under section 47 of the Pensions Act 1995 (PA 1995)). The professional advisers appointed typically include:

  1. an actuary (particularly for defined benefit schemes)

  2. an auditor

  3. asset custodians

  4. fund managers

  5. investment advisers

  6. documentation specialists

  7. administrators, and

  8. a legal adviser

Although such advisers are often highly educated and experienced, and likely to have highly developed systems in place to ensure an efficient and competent service, like all humans they remain prone to making mistakes. Unfortunately this is made more likely due to the sheer size, volume and complexity of pensions, pension laws, regulations and oversight (and associated trust, tax and employment laws) and increasing administration. Such mistakes can cost the scheme considerable amounts of money (and can run into the hundreds of millions sometimes)

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