Keystone Law

Monica Ma

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Monica has advised on employee benefits for over 20 years, specialising particularly in pensions and share incentive arrangements. She has wide-ranging experience of all types of employee benefits work, including the establishment of share incentive plans and pension plans. She also provides support on the employee benefits aspects of corporate transactions including M&As, flotations, joint ventures, and corporate restructures as well as executive termination.


Prior to joining Keystone Law in 2014, Monica worked at Simmons & Simmons.


- Advising on various benefit changes projects, including the cessation of defined benefits accruals, introduction of various underpin and other transitional arrangements, and the introduction of career average plans

- Advising pension scheme trustees in a global tender process for the appointment of new investment and actuarial advisers, including designing the tender document, conducting the interviews, and negotiating the agreements and conflicts protocol

- Advising Veolia Water on the pension aspects of the sale of its regulated water business, which involved complex and protracted negotiations with the pension trustees relating to the division of the pension assets and liabilities and the mitigation needed to compensate for the weakening of the employer’s covenant of the remaining business after the sale

- Advising HMV on the pension aspects of the sale of Waterstones, which was dependent on the liabilities of the pension plan being left behind, and involving an apportionment arrangement and difficult negotiations with the banks, the pension trustees, and the buyer to agree a means to compromise the statutory employer debt due to the pension plan arising from the sale

- Advising on a company’s withdrawal from an industry-wide pension plan for non-associated employers, which involved satisfying the Pensions Regulator regarding the treatment of the deficit and the protection of members remaining and transferring from the plan

- Advising a joint venture company on a long-term incentive plan that operated on a co-investment basis, linking the participants’ payout to the increase in the company’s value received by the founder shareholders, with the involvement of complex structuring issues as well as tax and regulatory issues

- Advising on the implementation of three new incentive plans involving a combination of deferred bonuses and phantom share awards with complex performance conditions

- Advising on the restructuring of employee benefit trust arrangements for a company involving documentation for the establishment of a new trust and the transfer of assets from two existing trusts in a different jurisdiction to the new trust