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Fiona Thornton, Consultant

Fiona Thornton

Consultant

Practice areas

  • Employee benefits
  • Pensions

Practice notes

Fiona  is a very  experienced pensions and employee benefits lawyer who speaks regularly to academic and industry conferences. She is ranked as an eminent practitioner in Chambers Europe Guide and a leading individual in Legal 500.

"She is well regarded for her technical skills and really understands the drivers behind the industry. She is extremely pragmatic and knowledgeable about all related areas" - Chambers Europe 2014

"Taking a pragmatic and business-like approach to matters while acknowledging the client’s overriding legal obligations" - Legal 500

Fiona is a former chairman of the Retirement Planning Council of Ireland a charity, established to promote retirement planning. She is a member of the pensions committee of the Law Society of Ireland and a former Council member of the Irish Taxation Institute and the Association of Pensions Lawyers in Ireland. Fiona is a member of the International Employee Benefits Lawyers Association and the Irish Taxation Institute.

Fiona joined Eversheds in 2014.  She practices in trust law, and is an expert in both pension law and in charity law, including the taxation of pension and charitable trusts.  Prior to joining Eversheds, Fiona was a partner and head of the pensions and employee benefits practice of another Irish law firm.   She has also practised as a tax lawyer, initially at KPMG.

Fiona’s recent experience includes:

  • Advising various employers on winding up the defined benefit schemes that they sponsor with a view to lawfully limiting the employer liabilities;
  • Advising various trustees of defined benefit schemes whose respective sponsoring employers propose to restructure the scheme to close it to future accrual or reduce the benefits under section 50.
  • Advising the trustees of defined benefit scheme in relation to its acceptance of a Danish Contingent Asset.
  • Advising the Pensions Authority on various matters most recently in relation to issues of statutory interpretation concerning schemes to which pensions adjustment orders apply where the scheme’s benefits have been reduced under section 50.
  • Representing a group of pensioners in their former employer’s application to the High Court to seek permission to reduce its share capital at a time when there was a significant deficit in the employer’s defined benefit pension scheme.
  • Representing a large European Insurer in the development of a pensions product establishing a pan European master trust pensions vehicle based in Ireland;
  • Advising, on an on-going basis, a large employee-owned privately held company with a multinational business on its share plans.
  • Advising on various cross-border pensions matters.
  • Advising non-Irish multinational employers on how to offer shares to their Irish based employees.