Pension industry leaders to Chair reshaped NAPF councils | PLSA
Pension industry leaders to Chair reshaped NAPF councils

Pension industry leaders to Chair reshaped NAPF councils

18 July 2013

The National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) has today announced the Chairs of its two new policy-making councils.

Robert Brown of Towers Watson has been elected Chair of the Defined Benefit Council and Lesley Williams of Whitbread will be Chair of the Defined Contribution Council .

Mr Brown is a senior investment consultant and Chairman of Towers Watson Global Investment Committee, the group responsible for all the firm’s capital market assumptions and views. Ms Williams is Group Pensions Director at Whitbread, and is responsible for corporate pensions strategy and for the operation of the pension fund and its investments. Both take up their new positions at the NAPF Annual General Meeting on 18 October 2013. 

The announcements follow the NAPF’s decision last year to revamp its two main policy-making councils by replacing the Retirement Policy Council and Investment Policy Council with DB Council and DC Council. The NAPF has restructured its councils to better reflect the pensions industry and create a clearer focus on defined contribution (DC) pensions in its policy work.

Mark Hyde Harrison, NAPF Chairman, said: 

“I congratulate Lesley and Robert and wish them every success in their new roles with the NAPF. It is gratifying that the Defined Contribution and Defined Benefit Councils are in the capable hands of two such experienced individuals and I am confident they will both expertly lead the new Councils in facing the challenges of the pensions industry over the next two years.”

Robert Brown said:

“I am delighted to have been elected as Chair of the NAPF’s Defined Benefit Council and look forward to serving the industry in this capacity at a time when the range and complexity of challenges facing pension funds has never been greater."

Lesley Williams said:

“This is a challenging but exciting time to continue to strengthen the NAPFs involvement in shaping DC pensions policy, and I’m very pleased to be taking this new role. Auto-enrolment is a massive change that will create millions of new savers, so we need to get DC right.”

Notes to editors:

1. The NAPF is the leading voice of workplace pensions in the UK. We speak for 1,300 pension schemes with some 16 million members and assets of around £900 billion. NAPF members also include over 400 businesses providing essential services to the pensions sector.

2. Robert Brown joined Watson Wyatt in 2002 having spent 18 years in the asset management industry. Robert is chairman of Towers Watson's Global Investment Committee, the group responsible for all the firm's capital market assumptions and views. Robert also advises a small number of the firm’s largest clients and as such has a particular understanding of issues facing such schemes. Robert is a co-opted member of the NAPF Investment Council and chairman of the Advisory Panel of the Institute of Quantitative Investment Research. He was recently named as one of the 50 most influential people in pensions by Pensions Insight magazine. Before joining Watson Wyatt, Robert spent seven years at First Quadrant where he was involved in managing equity market neutral and GTAA strategies and latterly headed its European operations. Prior to that he spent 11 years at NatWest Investment Management (now Gartmore) where he was a director in charge of their structured equities group. Robert is a graduate of the University of London and holds BSc and MSc degrees in economics. He is a member of the Securities Institute and an Affiliate Member of the Institute of Actuaries.

3. Lesley Williams has worked in the pensions industry for over 20 years, with previous positions in Gateway Foodmarkets, Abbey National, the Pearl Group and Head of Pensions with the Henderson Group. She is an Associate of the PMI and has an MBA. She is Vice-Chair of the NAPF Retirement Policy Council and is also the Chair of the interim DC Committee.

4. There are two vacancies for the DB Council and three vacancies for the DC Council. The closing date for receipt of nominations by post, fax or email is 16 August 2013 and new members will be announced in September. Each of the new Councils will have 15 members, who will all be leading figures from the pensions industry.


Paul Platt, Head of Media and PR, NAPF, 020 7601 1717 or 07917 506 683, [email protected]

Aimee Savage Richards, Press Officer (interim), 020 7601 1718 or 07825 171 446, [email protected]

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