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Consumer Insight Panel members' biographies

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Panel Chair - Jonathan Rees, Lay Director, Personal Finance Society

Jonathan is a non executive Director focussing on regulatory issues and promoting the consumer interest. He is currently a lay Director of the Lending Standards Board ( which provides regulation and standing setting for banks credit lending to consumers), a Director of Ombudsman Services (a not-for-profit company providing independent complaints resolution for consumers in energy, telecommunications and retail sectors), the Employers Network on Equality and Inclusion (the leading body promoting equality best practice) as well as a Trustee of Citizens Advice (a top 10 national charity providing advice for people needing help and support) and the NACAB Pension Fund. Prior to this he worked in the Civil Service for 35 years with a strong focus on strategy, regulation, change management and partnership working. His last role was as Director-General of the Government Equalities Office from 2008 to 2013. In this period he saw through a major overhaul of equalities legislation with the 2010 Equality Act, set up new partnerships to promote equality in the workplace, and developed the policy on same sex marriage.

After graduating in modern history from Jesus College Oxford, Jonathan worked in over 10 Government Departments both in Whitehall and overseas. Posts included three years in the No 10 Policy Unit advising successive Prime Ministers on strategy, seven years in Brussels dealing with European negotiations (both in the European Commission and in the Foreign Office), spells in the Home Office, Cabinet Office, BIS ( dealing with consumer and competition policy) and the Health and Safety Executive.

He joined the Personal Finance Society Board as Lay Director in April 2015

 

Sue Lewis, Chair, Financial Services Consumer Panel

Sue chairs the Financial Services Consumer Panel. She is a Trustee of StepChange, and of Young Enterprise. Sue is also a Consumer Advocate member of the Chartered Insurance Institute Professional Standards Board, a member of the Chartered Banker Professional Standards Board and of the Fairbanking Assessment Panel. Her EU and international work includes membership of the European Commission's Financial Services User Group; and consultancy advice on financial education, financial inclusion and consumer protection regulation, working with a number of overseas agencies including the OECD and Alliance for Financial Inclusion.

Sue spent most of her career as a senior civil servant, advising Government Ministers on a range of policy issues including financial services, early years, children and young people, and gender equality.

 

Jane Vass, Head of Public Policy, AgeUK

Jane joined Age Concern England as Financial Services Policy Adviser in 2006.

She was previously an independent consumer consultant and writer specialising in financial services from the consumer viewpoint.

In this capacity she undertook research such as reports for the National Consumer Council on equity release and on savings and investments for low-income consumers.

She was a member of the Financial Services Consumer Panel from 1999 to 2003, and from 1983 to 1993 she worked for Consumers' Association.

 

Carl Pheasey, Head of Policy and Propositions, Money Advice Service

Carl has been Head of Policy at the Money Advice Service since May 2015. 

Prior to joining MAS, Carl held senior public policy roles with British Airways and retail bank TSB.  

Carl previously spent five years in HM Treasury advising ministers on a range of microeconomic issues, including utility regulation, water industry competition, and radio spectrum auctions. As head of the Treasury's Major Projects branch he was responsible for Crossrail funding and London transport spending, and aviation and airports policy.  

Carl was briefly a private secretary to Alistair Darling before establishing a new body, Infrastructure UK inside the Treasury, and moving to work on consumer financial services policy as Head of Financial Capability.

Earlier in his career, Carl had a number of roles in local and regional government, and in politics.

 

Michelle Cracknell, Chief Executive, The Pensions Advisory Service

Michelle Cracknell is Chief Executive of the Pensions Advisory Service. She started her career as a financial at Advisory & Brokerage Services Ltd. She stayed at the firm for 20 years becoming a director and qualifying as an Actuary in 1997. Her work involved giving advice to companies on their pension arrangement and she also ran the self-administered pensions team that administered SSAS and SIPPs. In 2007, she joined Skandia as the Strategy Director and continued her interest in investment platforms when she left and did 3 years as a consultant. She is a regular commentator on pension matters in the media. Throughout her career, her key desire has been to make pensions more accessible to the employees through the provision of information.

 

Francis McGee, Director of External Affairs , StepChange Debt Charity

Francis joined the executive of StepChange Debt Charity in January 2014. Francis has a career spanning over 20 years in government, regulation and the financial services industry, most recently as head of policy and external affairs at the Money Advice Service.  Before that, he was head of corporate affairs at AEGON UK from July 2005 until January 2011. He led AEGON's work on public policy issues, working with government, Parliament and the FSA, including the government's pensions reform programme, FSA's Retail Distribution Review, and financial capability issues, particularly building on the success of Otto Thoresen's Generic Advice Review for HM Treasury.

Before joining AEGON, Francis was head of regulation and strategy at the Association of British Insurers.

Francis' early career was in the Treasury, but also included spells at the Bank of England and the Personal Investment Authority.

 

Nick Lord, Independent Consultant

Nick has thirty years experience in money advice and continues to spend around two days a week providing generic financial advice. The remainder of his time is spent working for a range of not for profit and commercial organisations, and government departments.  He is also a director of the Short Term Lending Board, member of the FLA Lending Code Board and chairman of the Lenderscompared Governance Board. Nick holds the Diploma in Financial Planning and is a member of the PFS.

 

Ceri Stanaway, Head of Money and Travel Research and Content Creation, Which?

Ceri  joined the Which? Money team July 2011. Having previously spent seven years as Which?'s telecoms and tech investigations expert, she now heads up the team responsible for researching and writing about consumer money matters, from bank accounts to investments. 

Throughout her time at Which?, Ceri's focus has been on recommending highly performing providers, shining a light on poor practice and investigating the things that matter to consumers when it comes to how they borrow, spend and invest their hard-earned money. Particular bugbears are the appalling quality of service from some service providers and the need for fairness and transparency in ever-changing markets.

 

Keith Richards, Chief Executive, The Personal Finance Society

Keith has over 30 years' experience within financial services and has operated at a senior level throughout most of this time in various roles, spanning both manufacturing and distribution.  He is actively engaged in the promotion of financial services within the UK and is a respected industry commentator.

Keith has been actively engaged in the promotion of financial services within the UK and has contributed to the boards of both AIFA and AMI. He is Chairman of TISA Exco for Adviser protocol and has represented the intermediary sector over many years on a number of panels and strategic leadership forums, including sitting on the Personal Finance Society RDR Qualification Committee. With an established media profile, Keith is a visible figurehead within the Intermediary sector and is regularly called upon for comment on UK financial services matters both home and abroad.

Keith was appointed Chief Executive of the Personal Finance Society in May 2013 bringing with him a wealth of experience to the role, combining his intermediary background and extensive knowledge and experience of the marketplace to ensure that the PFS remains the professional body of choice.

 

Nick Turner, President of The Personal Finance Society

Mr Turner has more than 30 years' experience working in financial services, having held a number of strategy, sales and marketing-related roles at AXA Wealth. In 2013, he joined as sales and agency director at NFU Mutual, where he oversees more than 100 financial advisers, 20 paraplanners and more than 600 general insurance agents across the NFU Mutual network.

Mr Turner joined the Society's board in 2011 and previously held the position of vice president. Over the last twelve years, Nick has held several strategy, sales and marketing related roles, including Sales Director for AXA Wealth and Head of Proposition for Elevate, the award winning wrap platform, and MD Intermediary and Partnerships in AXA Personal Lines (General Insurance).

Nick is currently the Sales and Agency Director for the NFU Mutual based in Stratford upon Avon, responsible for over 130 financial advisers and over 600 general insurance agents. Nick was elected to the PFS board in September 2011 becoming Vice President in September 2015.

 

10 April 2017

 

Consumer Insight Panel