Pensions Personality of the Year 2020 - Nominees unveiled, voting begins

Jonathan Stapleton
clock • 8 min read

Here they are… The nominees for this year's Pensions Personality of the Year…

Jenny Condron, Ruston Smith, Steve Delo and Margaret Snowdon are among those nominated for the Pensions Personality of the Year accolade

The names of the 12 nominees - which were put forward by you, our readers, will now be put to an industry-wide vote to choose an overall winner who will be announced at the UK Pensions Awards presentation on Wednesday 7 October.

To vote for your favourite, click here. Voting will close at 5pm on Wednesday, 9 September.

The nominees are as follows:

Adam Saron

Adam Saron is founder and chief executive of defined benefit (DB) scheme consolidator Clara Pensions. He has worked in financial services for over 20 years, beginning his career at Goldman Sachs before working in insurance and then becoming a founding partner at Black Ant Investment Management,  a global value investor, investing across the capital structure.

Adam has been cited for his "tireless" work over the past year and more to get DB scheme consolidation up and running despite what one nominator said were a "string of delays and dithering" by government and regulators. He was praised for the way he pushed hard to resolve the blockages and barriers and the way in which he has convinced others of the need to bring consolidation into reality.

Andrew Vaughan

Andrew Vaughan became Barnett Waddingham's senior partner in June 2020, a firm he joined after 27 years working at Mercer where he was latterly a senior partner. He is a past chairman of the Association of Consulting Actuaries (ACA) and International Association of Consulting Actuaries and is also a director of MBWL International - a international joint venture between BW, Milliman and Lurse to advise and co-ordinate on global benefit programmes.

He has been nominated for his work in helping lead Barnett Waddingham through the "shockwave" of Covid-19 and creating new insights for the industry, not least through his oversight of a research series into the UK's largest DB schemes.

Bobby Riddaway

Bobby Riddaway is investment director at Capita and has over 20 years' experience in providing investment advice to employers and trustees of defined benefit and defined contribution pension schemes. Prior to working at Capita, he held investment consulting positions at HSBC Actuaries and Consultants, and Hewitt - the firm that later became part of Aon. He is also a founding member and lead bassist of Premier Crue, the band that won, under its former name of De-Captita-Tor, Pensions Rocks in 2013.

He has been nominated for the way in which he took on Capita's investment team during the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure that clients were not adversely impacted and the way in which he has pushed out information to clients and the industry as a whole to help them navigate the crisis through his daily funding updates on social channels such as LinkedIn and Twitter. He was also commended for his support of the Transparency Task Force initiative.

Brian Henderson

Brian Henderson is partner and director of consulting at Mercer and holds a number of industry roles - being a member of the Pension and Lifetime Savings Association's (PLSA) policy board and defined contribution (DC) committee as well as chair of its cross-industry taskforce delivering guidance for trustees on ESG and stewardship. He is also, among other things, a member of the CFA Institute's ESG working group and plays a substantial role in a number of government taskforces and advisory groups.

He has been nominated for his cross-industry work on ESG over the past few years - with nominators pointing towards his work encouraging the fund management industry to do more on the issue, most recently his work leading a group of industry experts to deliver the PLSA report ESG and Stewardship: Apractical guide to trustee duties.

Elizabeth Renshaw-Ames

Elizabeth Renshaw-Ames is chair of the Aviva Master Trust, non-executive chair of Barnett Waddingham and a trustee of SPCK Publishing. From 2015 to March this year she was chief executive of the HSBC Bank Pension Trust (UK). Prior to this she was a senior partner at Mercer and a director at PwC.

She has been nominated for her work transforming the HSBC scheme executive as well as her efforts to raise the profile of the gender pensions gap and the way she has personally mentored a number of aspiring professionals in the industry and beyond.

Jenny Condron

Jenny Condron is partner and chief actuarial officer at Mercer and was, until May this year, the chair of the ACA. She is also a board member of the Cost Transparency Initiative.

Jenny was nominated for her work at the ACA where she, according to one of her nominators, was not only a very "trusted pair of hands" but also did an "exceptional job" representing the industry. She was also commended for her work helping mentor and share knowledge with others.

Margaret Snowdon

Margaret Snowdon holds a wide range of non-executive and voluntary roles across pensions and financial services - and is currently, among other things, chair of the Pension Scams Industry Group (PSIG), president and past chairman of the Pensions Administration Standards Association, and an independent non-executive director of XPS Pensions Group. She is also a governor and member of the council of the Pensions Policy Institute; a fellow and former vice-president of the Pensions Management Institute (PMI); and was appointed an OBE in 2010. She previously held partner and director level positions with leading employee benefit and financial services companies, including Mercer and JLT Employee Benefits.

Margaret has been nominated for the "enormous contribution" she has made to pensions scam prevention and victim support over many years, but particularly in 2020, in her role as chair of PSIG. As one nominator said: "Without Margaret efforts, many thousands more people would undoubtedly have fallen victim to the scammers."

Mark Williams

Mark Williams is the London retirement practice leader at Buck and is also the current chairman of the Pensions Board of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA). He is a scheme actuary to a range of schemes; has represent the IFOA on the GMP Equalisation Working Group and was the co-author of Buck's mid-market pensions review, an in-depth study of around 1,900 schemes with assets of between £10m to £1bn.

He has been nominated for his work on IFoA's Saving goals for retirement initiative which aimed to tackle the inadequacies of DC pensions. His colleagues also praised work on designing Square, Buck's first-to-market GMP equalisation solution and praise him for his "inspirational" team leadership, which includes annual personal renditions of happy birthday to each of his team and regular recordings of cheesy musicals throughout lockdown to keep spirits up.

Natalie Leaver

Natalie Leaver is pension relationship manager at JP Morgan and a trustee of the JP Morgan DC Pension Plan.

She has been nominated for her involvement in several client initiatives over the past 12 months - including the launch of an ESG analytics service and her work helping integrate illiquid assets classes into DC. She was commended for the way she brings clients together to share their experiences and bring together best practise "energised and entertaining way".

Peter Sparshott

Peter Sparshott is partner and head of pensions management consulting at PwC, where he has worked for the past 12 years. He has previously worked at a number of firms including Mercer, the firm where he began his career.

Peter was nominated for the way he has gone "over and above" to engage with both third-party administration providers and clients to understand how they have coped with operational changes required as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic - disseminating the different approaches to pension managers and scheme secretaries to help them improve their approach and ensure continuity of service.

Ruston Smith

Ruston Smith holds a number of roles within the pensions industry, including chair of the Tesco Pension Fund, independent trustee director of BAE Systems Pension Funds Trustee, non-executive chairman of Smart Pension and non-executive chair and director at JP Morgan Asset Management. He is a former chairman of the PLSA and worked at Tesco for 15 years until 2017, latterly as group director of people, pensions and insurable risk.

He has been nominated for his work on the Simpler Annual Statement initiative over several years, including his more recent work leading a cross industry group which aimed to standardise the assumptions used in member communications to provide greater consistency. He has also been nominated for his development of an independent governance framework to provide ongoing due diligence of IFA firms appointed by trustee boards to provide greater transparency and governance.

Ruston's nominators also noted he is a "strong advocate for diversity" and is currently also innovating on responsible investment".

Steve Delo

Steve Delo is chief executive of PAN Governance and, in his role as a trustee, sits on the boards of a number of large UK schemes, including The People's Pension, where he is chair of trustees. During his career he has worked at a number of firms including Mercer, Escher Asset Management and Close Brothers and was the president of the PMI between 2007 and 2009.

Steve has been nominated for his work during Covid-19 and more broadly - with one nominator praising his "inspired leadership in valuations" as being like "Captain America leading his Avengers to turn round the most difficult situation".

Vote for your favourite here

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