Julia Ward

Professional support lawyer

Julia is an experienced pensions lawyer who acts as the professional support lawyer for the pensions team.

As a professional support lawyer, Julia remains at the forefront of legal developments in the pensions industry and ensures that the team is kept up to date with legal and policy changes.

To ensure the team works as efficiently as possible and provides clients with value for money, Julia delivers regular legal training, drafts client briefings, maintains the team's precedent documents and works closely with the innovation team in developing bespoke solutions to client problems.

Prior to becoming a professional support lawyer, Julia practised as a pensions associate for a number of years. She provided advice to both trustees and sponsors on day-to-day advisory matters including advice on closure to accrual, equalisation, Beckmann issues and the Pension Regulator’s moral hazard powers, as well as providing the pensions advice for complex and high value corporate transactions.

Recent experience includes: 

  • Developing Stephenson Harwood’s bespoke pensions legal automation tool known as Deed Architect.
  • Developing a pensions hub website to allow clients easy access to our expertise and legal knowhow materials.
  • Providing ongoing technical and policy training for the Stephenson Harwood pensions team - ensuring the team remains at the forefront of legal and other developments in the pensions sector.
  • Drafting regular briefings for clients in an easily digestible format about important developments. Briefings cover topics such as the developing regulation of defined benefit pension schemes, GMP equalisation, retrospective equalisation and case law updates.
  • Assisting with client training and with running the Innovation Café series of workshops. 

Awards

Professional Pensions UK Awards 2019 - Finalist
Pensions Age Awards 2018 - Shortlisted
Insights

The Pension Schemes Bill - Just the beginning?

It was widely anticipated in the pensions industry that the Pension Schemes Bill (the Bill) would receive Royal Assent at the end of 2020. However, it is perhaps unsurprising it did not get over the line with much of the Government's time taken up with Brexit and Covid-19. It has, however now passed through all of the Parliamentary stages and is awaiting Royal Assent.

The composition of the Retail Prices Index set to change

The composition of the RPI is set to change from February 2030. RPI index values will be calculated using the same methods and data sources that are used to calculate the CPIH. Based on recent economic conditions, this is likely to result in RPI being lower by an average of 1% per annum.

Pension fund management services provided to defined benefit schemes not exempt from VAT

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has put an end to any suggestion that pension fund management services provided to occupational pension schemes are VAT exempt on the basis of an insurance exemption.