Speakers List - Risk Reduction Forum 2019


Jonathan Stapleton


Professional Pensions

Jonathan is editor-in-chief of Professional Pensions and Workplace Savings & Benefits (WSB).

He started work as a journalist on capital markets magazine Central European in 2000 before joining internet start-up ii-Q.com, a pensions news service.

Jonathan joined Professional Pensions in July 2001 and has been there, barring a nine month sabbatical in 2004, ever since. He launched PP Online in 2006, became deputy editor of Professional Pensions in 2008, editor in 2009, launched WSB in 2012 and became editor-in-chief of both brands in 2014.

Jonathan has won a number of awards throughout his career - most recently the Society of Pension Professionals' Journalist of the Year Award 2014 and the Investment Association's Trade Journalist of the Year Award 2015 - and is holder of the Pension Management Institute's Retirement Provision Certificate.

Outside of pensions, Jonathan enjoys spending time with his young son and is becoming increasingly addicted to US box sets on his commute to and from the West Sussex coast.


Keynote Speakers

Steven Dicker


Partner and Pensions Strategy Lead

Steven rejoined PwC in 2011 as a Partner and lead on Pensions Strategy, having previously led the pensions team in the North West in the 1990s. In between he was Managing Director, Insurance and Pension Principalling at Goldman Sachs and spent 10 years with Towers Watson, including as Head of Mergers & Acquisitions Consulting and as a member of the leadership team for Corporate Pensions Consulting and the cross-practice steering group for Liability Settlement Solutions.
Steven has broad experience working with corporate and trustee clients, including all aspects of pension design, funding, risk management and governance, and also with corporates, trustees and their advisers as a provider of de-risking solutions.

He has led many comprehensive strategy projects, setting pensions and pension investment issues in clients' wider corporate finance and risk context. Highlights include leading the first £1bn+ pension buy-in and the first ever longevity swaps by UK pension funds, acting as lead adviser to Tata Steel on the restructure of the £15bn British Steel Pension Scheme and working on several of the other most high profile risk transactions as either advisor or solution provider.
He is a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, an Associate of the Pensions Management Institute and an FCA Approved Person for pensions investment strategy advice. He also sits on the Pensions Board of the IFoA and the Pensions Committee of the ICAEW.


Jo Hill

Executive Director of Strategy and Risk

The Pensions Regulator

Jo was appointed Executive Director - Strategy and Risk in November 2018. She is responsible the Pensions Regulator's Strategy, Horizon Scanning, Risk Management, Data and Analytics capability.

Jo spent 15 years with the Financial Conduct Authority in a range of roles including Strategy, Supervision, Authorisation and Enforcement. In her final role as Director, Market Intelligence Data and Analysis, Jo was responsible for the design and delivery of market wide sector view analysis, consumer research, transforming the FCA's analytics capability and developing the approach to RegTech. Prior to joining the regulator Jo held roles as a financial adviser, and in compliance at a large pensions provider.

Jo is a keen advocate of better mental health and is a Board member for the City Mental Health Alliance, and a trustee of the Money & Mental health Policy Institute.



Tim Coulson

Director, Defined Benefit Solutions


Tim Coulson has built and leads the DB de-risking team at Just. A qualified actuary, he's one of the most experienced individual's active in the de-risking market today, having joined Prudential's bulk annuity business 19 years ago. He was part of the initial team that set up and grew Paternoster, after which he was recruited by UBS to develop their longevity offering.
Since his appointment in 2012, Tim has built the dedicated DB business unit with a vision to provide innovative solutions for de-risking underpinned by bespoke transactions and expert administration. It's a vision that's delivered pricing advantage and service excellence to over 150 schemes with ‘gold standard' levels of security for trustees and Just DB policyholders.
Outside work, Tim coaches U9's rugby (badly) as well being a keen road cyclist and has represented GB at age group level in Europe (also badly).

Mike Edwards



Mike has over 15 years' experience in the pensions and insurance industry, specialising in risk settlement solutions.
Mike joined Aon's Risk Settlement Group in March 2018 where he advises pension scheme trustees and sponsors on buy-ins and buy-outs and has provided advice on over £2BN of completed transactions to date.
He joined Aon from Scottish Widows, where, as head of Origination and Structuring, he was instrumental in the launch and development of the company's bulk annuity business and oversaw the completion of over £2.5bn buy-in and buy-out transactions. Prior to this, Mike held a senior role in Legal and General's bulk annuity team where he was responsible for managing the bulk annuity product range, developing new solutions to support pension scheme de-risking which were integral to the implementation of insurance for over £3bn of pension scheme liabilities.
Mike has been a qualified actuary since 2007 and spent the first nine years of his career as a consultant advising trustees and corporate sponsors on a variety of pension risk management issues including member options exercises, scheme funding, benefit change and accounting.

David Fairs

Executive Director of Regulatory Policy, Analysis and Advice

The Pensions Regulator

David was appointed Executive Director of Regulatory Policy, Analysis and Advice on 2 July 2018.
He is responsible for development of policy for TPR and has oversight of TPR's professional advisers including lawyers, actuaries, investment advisers and business analysts.
David is a former Chairman of the Association of Consulting Actuaries and Director of the Association of Consulting Actuaries Limited, a former Council member of the International Actuarial Association, and inaugural Chairman of the Joint Industry Forum for Workplace Pensions. He was also a Council member of the Society of Pension Consultants and is immediate past Chairman of the Actuaries Club.
David was a Senior Partner in the Pensions practice at KPMG where he advised on the design, implementation, management and communication of pensions and employee benefit arrangements. Immediately prior to joining TPR, David developed and lead the Trustee Board Effectiveness service provided by KPMG and in collaboration with the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association. He has previously worked with DWP and HM Treasury on pensions and pension taxation policy.

Russell Lee

Head of Client Solutions

Legal & General

Russell leads the client solutions team within Legal & General's institutional retirement division. This team deals with both special situations and also new product innovation. They work with Insurers, Pension Scheme Sponsors, and Scheme Trustees who wish to remove or reduce pension risk from their balance sheets. Russell has a broad background in structured finance, investment consulting, capital optimisation, banking and quantitative modelling. Since joining Legal & General in 2015, Russell has been involved in a number of landmark transactions including Legal & General's first Captive reinsurance transaction, and the acquisition of a £3 billion annuity portfolio from Aegon.

Rob Mechem

Head of Business Development, Defined Benefit Solutions


Rob joined the DB Solutions team in 2014. He cares about what's right for schemes when they're preparing to buy-in or buy-out and his team support trustees and their administration partners from enquiry, through transaction and onwards to transition.
Before joining Just, he spent 12 years at Aviva where he had a number of roles eventually leading the pricing of bulk annuities for six and half years. He's a qualified life insurance actuary which helps ensure the right questions get asked to focus the expertise within the team and maximise value for trustees. Outside work, he's a keen marathon runner.

Prash Mehta

Business Development Manager, Defined Benefit Solutions


Prash joined the DB Solutions team soon after it was launched in 2012 as a DB pricing actuary. He moved into business development where he's been responsible for a number of the team's larger transactions. Before joining, he was a pension actuary at AON where he completed his actuarial training. Outside work, his young family and travel are Prash's passions.

Clive Pugh


Burges Salmon

Clive joined Burges Salmon, having spent over five years at the Pensions Regulator. His experience at the Regulator included advising on pension scheme funding and clearance issues.
Clive advises on all aspects of pensions law, and specialises in clearance, PPF cases, scheme funding and governance, legal interpretation, strategic advice and buy-ins.
He has advised on a large number of leading scheme funding cases where there has been regulatory interest.
Clive is also a regular commentator in the press and in industry publications. He is a member of the Association of Pensions Lawyers, the Pensions Management Institute Advisory Committee and the Association of Pensions Lawyers' International Committee. He is also a member of the NAPF's legal panel.

Phil Redding

Head of UK Business Development


Phil is responsible for Business Development in the UK and Ireland for Cardano. Prior to joining Cardano Phil was Head of Business Development EMEA at Aviva Investors and has also worked at Credit Suisse, Zurich, CIS, Scottish Mutual. His formative years were spent as a pensions consultant at Hogg Robinson Benefit Consultants. Phil has over 30 years' pensions and investment experience.

Akash Rooprai

Head of Client Management


Akash is Head of Client Management, specialising in pension risk management. He brings nearly 30 years' experience of working with trustees and companies on their defined benefit pension plans. He worked as a bulk annuity specialist for around 11 years, and is highly regarded by the bulk annuity insurers having completed some high profile transactions, including the first £1bn buy-out in the UK, the first public sector scheme buy-in and advising trustees on the first captive buy-in in the UK.

Adam Saron


Clara Pensions

Adam was inspired to found Clara by his wife, for whom the company is named. Adam is motivated by clarity, teamwork and a strong desire to effect change. Adam believes that placing members first is the key to delivering a new solution for defined benefit pension schemes that will have a positive effect on members, sponsors and the broader UK economy.
Adam has worked in financial services for over 20 years. He began his career in Equity Capital Markets at Goldman Sachs, where he advised European and global clients on the structuring and execution of equity and equity-linked financing. After spending a year in the insurance industry he returned to the capital markets and was a founding partner at Black Ant Investment Management - a global value investor, investing across the capital structure. Adam was a portfolio manager for 11 years on both the Black Ant Value and Credit funds.

Hannah Simons

Head of Fiduciary Management


Hannah Simons is Head of Fiduciary Management at Schroders. She joined in 2015 and is based in London. Hannah was a Fiduciary Partner at Russell Investments from 2013 to 2015, which involved providing total plan solutions to small and medium sized clients. Prior to that she was an LDI product specialist at PIMCO from 2011 to 2013, which involved designing LDI solutions for UK and European pension funds.
Hannah was a Solutions Specialist at BlackRock from 2004 to 2011, where she designed LDI and broader solutions for pension funds across the globe. She also spent time at Watson Wyatt as an Investment Consultant, providing investment strategy advice to UK pension funds.
Hannah is a student member of the Institute of Actuaries.
Qualifications: BSc in Actuarial Science from the London School of Economics.

Martin West

Senior Actuary


Graduated Economics 1984 University of Warwick
FIA 1991
Certificate in Company Direction, Institute of Directors, 2008

Scheme Actuary to 15 Schemes including household names in Industry and the Not for Profit Sector, and a handful of corporate clients

Worked on BuyIns, BuyOuts, PIEs, ETVs. FROs, all sorts of de-risking exercises, including the first buyout of a final salary pension scheme by a solvent FTSE100 Company in 2001.

Keen bridge player, used to do all sorts of sports but now only really capable of cycling, the odd 10k run, badminton and tennis with wife, and going up the gym.