A pension scheme trust fund relied upon by a number of law firms to provide pensions for their staff has told members they may be liable for any shortfall in future.
Retrospective legislation amending the Pensions Act 2011 has changed the definition of money purchase benefits, meaning employers are legally required to fund a deficit should this arise.
The Cheviot Trust, set up as a money purchase agreement with a significant interest from the legal sector, has written to law firm members to warn them of the new rules.
The present view is that it does not need to make a call on employers, but the trust has begun a consultation on the terms of future financial contributions.
The Law Society has issued a notice to firms to raise awareness of potential liability, particularly with regard to those which have merged with a firm that has paid into the scheme.
A spokesman said: ‘Some firms may well have excluded this liability in the context of any merger or purchase and it may also be that previous partners are also potentially liable.
‘Although it appears there are no plans to make a call on firms, it would obviously be prudent for firms to establish exactly what their position is.’
The consultation will run until 11 May. There will be a meeting in London for Cheviot members on 6 May.