First Chair of The Pensions Regulator, David Norgrove, joins RiskFirst Group as Chairman to lead the company’s drive to deliver innovative analytics and risk-transfer solutions to the defined benefit pensions industry.
London. 7th July 2011* RiskFirst today announced the appointment of David Norgrove to lead the company in the next stage of its campaign to change the way the defined benefit (DB) pensions industry measures and manages risk. Norgrove – who was Chairman of The Pensions Regulator from its inception in January 2005 until December 2010 – will oversee the company’s continuing push to establish market leadership in pension analytics, as well as its launch of more cost effective insurance-based risk transfer solutions.
Norgrove is currently Chairman of the Low Pay Commission, the Family Justice Review Panel and Deputy Chairman of the British Museum. Prior to this, he spent 16 years with Marks & Spencer in various roles and was one of five Executive Directors that planned, communicated and led the company’s turnaround between 2000 and 2002. He went on to be appointed Executive Director for clothing and international business, responsible for sales of £4 billion. He was also appointed Chair of the M&S pension scheme – leading trustees through issues associated with Philip Green’s ultimately unsuccessful bid for the company. Norgrove began his career as an economist at the Treasury before becoming Private Secretary to the then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.
“We are absolutely delighted that David, who is highly-respected within the pensions industry, has decided to join RiskFirst as our new Chairman,” says Timothy Lyons, CEO of RiskFirst Group. “His unrivalled knowledge of the industry’s needs will play an important part in the next stage of RiskFirst’s strategic development, helping us to deliver innovative solutions that bring real value to our clients.”
From early next year, RiskFirst intends to offer innovative insurance-based products to help pension scheme sponsors and trustees reduce their risk exposure. This risk transfer initiative comes on the back of the success of RiskFirst Analytics in creating PFaroe®, the market leading business intelligence platform for DB schemes which was launched in 2009. “When we launched RiskFirst in 2007 it was always our plan to develop two core activities – firstly, to provide advanced analytics enabling pension schemes to measure and manage risk more effectively, and secondly, to offer innovative capital solutions to facilitate risk-transfer,” says Lyons. “However, in 2008 we put our capital solutions initiative on hold due to the financial crisis, and focused our efforts and resources on launching RiskFirst Analytics and PFaroe®.”
“Now, with a healthier financial environment and a significant improvement in funding levels, companies and schemes are once again focusing on risk transfer,” he adds. “We therefore feel it is the right time to return to our original plan of offering pension schemes a costeffective way to reduce their risk exposure as they move towards the end-game of full windup. The approach we are developing with David’s help builds upon lessons learnt from previous industry initiatives and reflects the innovative thinking for which RiskFirst is already recognised. We expect to launch this part of our business in 2012 initially targeting schemes with liabilities in excess of £500 million, where we see an increasing interest in managing and removing DB exposures.”
“The timing couldn’t be better for RiskFirst to bring innovative thinking and a fresh approach to risk-transfer. With more and more pension schemes looking for viable and affordable opportunities to reduce the levels of risk they are running, the company’s unique technology empowers pension schemes to measure their risk exposures in a way that was never before possible. However, the market continues to lack affordable solutions to manage this risk – something I believe RiskFirst can change.”
After three years of intense development of PFaroe® – which have seen the platform’s core modules expand to include liabilities, assets and risk for the UK and the US markets – RiskFirst Analytics will now focus on increasing its client base. Currently 23 schemes in the UK, accounting for over £50 billion of liabilities, are signed up to PFaroe®, including Aga Rangemaster Group, Babcock International, Daily Mail & General Trust, HSBC and Invensys.
* Amended 8th August 2011