Neil Bowden


Neil is UK Head of Compensation, Employment & Governance. He advises a mixture of trustees and employers on their pension arrangements with a client base including some of the biggest funds in the UK. 

Neil advises a mixture of trustees and employers on their pension arrangements with a client base including some of the biggest funds in the UK. Recently, Neil has assisted clients with key strategic changes such as benefit reviews, contingent funding arrangements and closure of schemes to future accrual, as well as guiding them through the changing regulatory environment (including the increasing focus on ESG issues). He also has a great deal of experience in liability management, including advising in a number of the significant recent buy-in and longevity swap transactions.

Neil sits on the Legislative and Parliamentary Subcommittee of the Association of Pensions Lawyers and also served on the committee of the Society of Pension Consultants. He regularly speaks at industry conferences and training events.


Representative matters

The Trustee of a financial institution on their industry changing GMP equalisation high court application. The test case provided clarity in an industry issue that had been unresolved for almost 30 years and affects the majority of UK pension schemes, with an estimated impact of around £20 billion. Neil has continued to advise the Trustee on the implications of the judgment and the subsequent hearing on transfers in 2020.

The pension aspects for the implementation of bank ring-fencing on two of the big four high street banks. These were complex, long running projects involving multi-billion pound contributions to the pension arrangements, sectionalisation of schemes, negotiation with trustees and sponsors and clearance from the Pensions Regulator.

Many of the biggest buy in and longevity transactions in the market. In particular Neil has guided the ICI Pension Fund through their long running de-risking programme with more than a dozen transactions over a 10 year period. He also advised the Trustee of a financial institution on their market leading longevity swap in 2020.

Pro bono

Chair of the Trustee Board of the A&O Shearman Pension Scheme.

Leadership Positions And Professional Affiliations

  • Member, Association of Pension Lawyers
Neil knows his subject matter and can be relied upon to come up with a pragmatic solution
Chambers, 2024
A superb senior pensions lawyer. One of the strongest, if not the strongest, in practice today
Chambers, 2024



Admitted as solicitor, England and Wales, 1998

Admitted as solicitor, Scotland, 1997

A&O Shearman was formed on May 1, 2024 by the combination of Shearman & Sterling LLP and Allen & Overy LLP and their respective affiliates (the legacy firms). Any matters referred to above may include matters undertaken by one or more of the legacy firms rather than A&O Shearman.