Ex-Credit Suisse Fixed Income MD, Hugo James, joins RiskFirst Capital as CEO to lead the company’s drive to offer alternative “end-game” solutions for defined benefit pension schemes

London – RiskFirst Capital today announced the appointment of Hugo James to lead the company’s continuing push to establish market leadership in delivering cost effective insurance-based risk transfer solutions and innovative investment opportunities to defined benefit (DB) pension schemes. James – who previously was a Managing Director in Fixed Income at Credit Suisse and has more than 15 years of corporate advisory, capital markets and insurance experience – will lead the RiskFirst Capital team in sourcing, structuring and delivering solutions to the corporate sponsors of major DB liabilities of £500m and above.

RiskFirst Capital, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of RiskFirst Group, offers solutions to major UK companies looking towards the “end game” in the management of their DB pension schemes, by partially or wholly transferring their pension scheme liabilities to RiskFirst Capital’s pioneering insurance company Long Acre Life. Long Acre Life was launched by Ex-Chair of The Pensions Regulator, David Norgrove, in December 2011.

“Defined benefit pension funds have, in recent years, both destroyed tens of billions of pounds of shareholder value and caused significant concerns for corporates and scheme members alike,” says James. “While many schemes have started down a road of de-risking, funding volatility shows that shareholders and members are still exposed to substantial risks. While insurance solutions offer the most complete solution to this problem, to date they have been unattractive to corporate sponsors of the larger schemes from a value and transparency perspective.”

James adds:

“At RiskFirst Capital we believe that a fundamentally different approach is needed, and are therefore focusing on corporate finance driven solutions that enable corporate sponsors to fully understand the risk and reward involved in the transaction. Furthermore, this transparency will help demonstrate shareholder value to their investors and provide security to scheme members.”

James was previously Managing Director of Fixed Income at Credit Suisse where he was responsible for the company’s UK actuarial risk business, and notably led the award-winning £1.7 billion ITV pension scheme longevity hedge in 2011 – the third largest of its kind to be conducted in the UK. Prior to this, he was Sales Director of the Bulk Annuities team at Legal & General, where he took responsibility for all structuring and sales of bulk annuities. While there, he led the development of the company’s longevity insurance and collaterised buy-in offerings while jointly developing its combined investment and insurance de-risking propositions.

“We are absolutely delighted that Hugo, who is highly-respected within the pensions industry, has decided to join RiskFirst Capital as our new CEO,” adds Timothy Lyons, CEO of RiskFirst Group. “His unrivalled knowledge of the de-risking industry and his extensive experience of structuring and delivering innovative bulk annuity and longevity solutions that bring real value to clients will be important to our company as we continue to offer innovative insurance-based products to help pension scheme sponsors and trustees reduce their risk exposure.”