Former CMS Partner and consultant to lead legal work for pensions consolidator | Continued growth of core Clara team reflects growing interest in ‘safer pensions’

Clara-Pensions, the member-first consolidator for defined benefit pension schemes, today announced the appointment of Ashley Smith as General Counsel. This growth in the Clara team reflects a growing pipeline of potential transactions as Clara works towards approval.

Adam Saron, CEO of Clara-Pensions, said: “I am absolutely delighted that Ashley has joined Clara. For someone of his experience to join our already strong team shows the progress we are making. There will be lots for him to do given the interest we are seeing from trustees and employers in securing safer pensions for their members. With the attention that many are giving to the security of pension promises in the current environment, interest in consolidation will only continue to grow.”

Ashley Smith, commented: “Having worked with Clara as a client, I have seen first-hand the huge potential their approach to consolidation has. Their ‘Member-First’ ethos has always been very apparent. Having most recently been specialising in a range of covenant and security issues, I am particularly looking forward to applying this experience to Clara for the benefit of potential members.”

Ashley trained as a solicitor at CMS, working with Addleshaw Goddard and Clifford Chance before returning to CMS as a Partner in 2003. Having focused on restructuring and insolvency he developed a practice dealing with pensions issues on behalf of both trustees and employers. He has advised on valuation and recovery plan negotiations and a range of funding and covenant solutions, including a number of significant and high-profile asset-backed contribution arrangements; first as a Partner at CMS and then latterly as a consultant.

Ashley is also a Governor of a local state primary school and is on a Borough-wide panel for hearing appeals on school admissions.

Clara-Pensions will continue to be advised by CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP and the Clara Pensions Trust by Eversheds Sutherlands (International) LLP. Travers Smith LLP will continue to act as conflicts counsel to both Clara-Pensions and the Clara Pension Trust.