David Francis, Partner - A&L Goodbody

David Francis

David Francis has more than 15 years' experience of advising on pensions-related matters. He advises companies and trustees on all legal issues affecting their defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans. His expertise ranges from the establishment of plans (including plan design, documentation, administration, compliance, investment and cross-border pension issues) through to advising on funding, merging, pension benefit changes, liability management exercises, restructuring and winding up.

David also advises on trust law aspects and pension adjustment orders, as well as pension disputes, mediation and litigation. He has considerable expertise in advising on the pension aspects of corporate mergers, acquisitions, re-organisations, flotations, outsourcing and privatisations.


David’s most recent pensions advisory work includes advising:

  • Trustees and employers on conversion from defined benefit to defined contribution accrual, closure to new entrants and termination of future accrual as well as section 50 orders.
  • On a major re-documentation project including the merger of a number of schemes.
  • A number of financial institutions in relation to loans made to pension schemes.
  • Employers and trustees on the inclusion of employees of diverse acquired entities under an existing pensions offering, including the introduction of 19 separate membership schedules.
  • Trustees on the successful defence of a number of complaints made to the Pensions Ombudsman.
  • The trustees of a large defined benefit scheme on the sponsoring employers proposal to restructure the scheme and reduce benefits.
  • Trustees of defined benefit schemes on the winding up of the scheme and negotiations with the sponsoring employer in relation to contribution demands, increased funding and the provision of additional benefits outside the scheme.
  • A new service provider entering the approved retirement fund and small self-administered scheme market.

David's recent transactional experience includes:

  • Employers and trustees of large defined benefit schemes on changes to scheme benefits, including stopping defined benefit accrual and providing defined contribution benefits for the future. 
  • Employers and trustees on liability reduction exercises, including enhanced transfer value exercises, scheme mergers, contingent assets and section 50 orders.
  • Trustees of a large industry-wide defined benefit scheme with over 250 participating employers and in particular in relation to funding obligations.
  • Employers and trustees in relation to cross-border issues for IORPS in the UK, Ireland and elsewhere and recently in relation to BREXIT and HMRC requirements.
  • The trustees of the Irish Airlines General Staff and Pilots Superannuation schemes.
  • Davy as principal underwriter to the proposed sale of 25% the Irish State's share in AIB by IPO, the largest IPO in Europe in 2017.
  • CPP Investment Board (Canada Pension Plan) on its strategic partnership in the Corrib Natural Gas Field in Ireland.
  • Carlyle Group on the pensions aspects of its acquisition of Sam McAuley Chemists.
  • AIG on the pension aspects of its acquisition of Laya Healthcare.
  • Nestec S.A. on the pensions aspects of its purchase of Pfizer's nutritional foods business.

Market Recommendations

  • "Very good at solving issues." (Legal 500 2017)
  • "He always gives the best advice...he covers all the bases and his responses are very detailed." (Chambers Europe 2017)
  • "Specialist expertise and good skills." (Chambers Europe 2016)
  • "An increasingly prominent practitioner in the Irish pensions market. He understands the complexity of situations, explains the options carefully and has due appreciation of the commercial impact of advice." (Chambers Europe 2015)


  • Solicitor, Law Society of Ireland, 2002.
  • LLM, University of London, Queen Mary and Westfield College, 1999.
  • LLB, National University of Ireland, Galway, 1998.
  • BA, National University of Ireland, Galway, 1994.

Professional Activities

David has featured in the Irish pensions trade press on a number of occasions and enjoys training and speaking on pensions matters. He is a member of the Council of the Association of Pension Lawyers in Ireland and the Pensions Management Institute in the UK. 

David Francis

T: +353 1 649 2380

Email: David Francis

Vcard: David Francis

Specialist expertise and good skills

(Chambers Europe 2016)