The Insurance and Pensions Unit at Cains, headed by departmental director Ben Hughes, celebrates its third anniversary this year.
The Unit, which brought together two previously separate specialist areas of the corporate practice and which is staffed by former City lawyers with extensive experience in the fields of insurance and pensions work in the Isle of Man, was established in order to reflect growing synergies between the insurance and the pensions sectors of the financial services industry both on and off the Island.
Commenting on the work to date of the Unit, Ben Hughes says:
“The combining of these two important specialisations of the firm has worked incredibly well. The initial impetus for the creation of the Unit was the consolidation of insurance and pension scheme regulation under the aegis of the Supervisor of the Insurance and Pensions Authority. However, the success of the Unit has been driven not only by the cross-over between the two sectors (such as pension schemes invested in products offered by life companies, and wrapped pension products offered by some of the life offices on the Island etc.), but also from the combining of knowledge and skills sets developed in two differing areas of law. Bringing a multi-disciplined approach to the Unit’s practice has allowed us to resolve some of the issues clients have raised with creative and insightful solutions. This is due, in no small part, to the collegial and collaborative atmosphere the Unit enjoys.”
Members of the Unit working on the insurance side regularly advise on a wide range of transactional and regulatory compliance matters including, for example: the establishment and authorisation of captive and other insurance companies; redomiciliation of insurance companies both to and from the Island; outsourcing and reinsurance arrangements; insurance portfolio transfers; mergers and acquisitions; changes in capital structure; and regulatory considerations relevant to the marketing of insurance products in the Isle of Man.
Members of the Unit working on the pensions side regularly advise both corporate clients, pension scheme trustees, and Statutory Boards on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious pension issues including, for example: scheme design, establishment, tax approval and regulatory authorisation; product development; scheme mergers and winding-up; issues arising in connection with scheme deficits and surpluses; corporate sales, acquisitions, restructurings and insolvencies; executive severance arrangements; and arrangements involving professional advisers and investment management. The Unit advises on all classes of pension arrangement including occupational, personal and statute based schemes as well as having specific experience of the different types of scheme found within these classifications (such as, inter alia, domestic, international, approved, unapproved, self-invested, group personal and QROPS-listed schemes).
The Unit operates an open-door policy and prospective clients who may be considering seeking Isle of Man legal advice are welcome to contact members of the Unit to discuss any insurance or pensions questions informally before deciding whether or not to proceed on a more formal basis.
The Unit head and primary contact for pensions enquiries is Ben Hughes, and the primary contact for insurance enquiries is Jonathan Latham.