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The Board

The Board of The Pensions Regulator meets around eight times a year and is made up of the Chair, non-executive members, the Chief Executive and executive directors.

All Board members are appointed by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions following open competition.

Their key responsibilities are:

  • overseeing TPR's strategic direction and making key decisions on policy
  • ensuring TPR is properly run as a public body and has effective internal controls
  • ensuring that statutory and administrative requirements for the use of public funds are complied with

Mark Boyle - Non-Executive Chair



Mark Boyle became non-executive chair of The Pensions Regulator in April 2014, and was reappointed for a further three-year term in March 2018. Mark has a 30-year career spanning three separate spheres – banking, FTSE corporate and central government.

From 2011 until March 2016, Mark was also the independent non-executive chair of HM Land Registry.

Mark was previously director and chief operating officer at the Shareholder Executive, now UK Government Investments, the specialist corporate finance team that looked after a portfolio of government-owned businesses ranging from the Royal Mail to Ordnance Survey.

Before this he spent 12 years in senior commercial and corporate development roles with two major FTSE companies, Compass Group and Rentokil Initial. The first 15 years of his career was spent in banking with Lloyds Bank International and Kleinwort Benson.


The chair has strategic leadership responsibility for The Pensions Regulator (TPR).

The role includes:

  • chairing TPR’s board, keeping under review the strategic direction of TPR, and leading TPR in the fulfillment of its legislative objectives and functions:
  • to protect the benefits under occupational and personal pension schemes of, or in respect of, members of such schemes
  • to reduce the risk of situations arising from which may lead to compensation being payable from the Pension Protection Fund
  • to promote and improve understanding of, the good administration of work-based pensions schemes
  • chairing the committee of non-executive members, to discharge the non-executive functions of TPR, including that the internal financial controls secure the proper conduct of its financial affairs
  • working with TPR's chief executive in ensuring that TPR’s internal operations are conducted effectively and with maximum efficiency toward achieving its objectives and functions
  • communicating on behalf of TPR with key stakeholders, and ensuring stewardship mechanisms are in place and operating effectively.

Charles Counsell - Chief Executive

Charles Counsell


Charles Counsell was appointed Chief Executive of The Pensions Regulator (TPR) on 1 April 2019.

Prior to this Charles was Chief Executive at the Money Advice Service for nearly two years.

Charles spent six years before this as Executive Director for Automatic Enrolment at TPR where he was responsible for the successful roll-out of this programme across the UK, working alongside the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). In his time at TPR, the automatic enrolment programme led to over 7.5 million workers newly saving into a workplace pension from over 500,000 employers.

Charles was awarded an OBE in 2017 for services to workplace pension reform.

He has spent much of his career setting up and leading major change programmes in both the private and public sector in the UK and overseas.

Charles is also a Trustee of South Somerset Citizens Advice.


The chief executive has responsibility for securing that the legislative objectives and functions of TPR are exercised efficiently and effectively.

The role includes:

  • protecting the benefits under occupational and personal pension schemes of, or in respect of, members of such scheme
  • reducing the risk of situations arising from which may lead to compensation being payable from the Pension Protection Fund
  • promoting and improving understanding of, the good administration of work-based pensions schemes
  • being an executive member of TPR's Board, contributing to and reviewing the strategic direction of TPR
  • operational leadership of TPR, with its workforce of around 600 and annual budget of around £80 million, including leadership of our executive management team and corporate secretariat, stewardship arrangements with government, and working with key stakeholders
  • preparing our annual report and accounts for submission to the Secretary of State
  • responsibility for ensuring that operational costs represent value for money and that our business is delivered in a cost effective manner, as accounting officer

Kirstin Baker - Non-Executive Director



Kirstin Baker has over twenty years' experience in economic and finance roles in the civil service and was most recently Finance Director at HM Treasury. She previously worked as a senior policy official in the Treasury, heading the team responsible for co-ordinating public spending and managing many of the Treasury’s interventions in individual banks in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

Kirstin’s earlier career was in EU policy and she worked as a competition official in the European Commission. She has also worked for the Scottish Government, leading policy on infrastructure investment.

Kirstin is a non-executive director and Inquiry Chair at the Competition and Markets Authority. She is also a non-executive director at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust, a non-executive advisor at Western Sussex Hospitals Trust, an independent member of Council at Sussex University and a member of the audit committee of Clarion Housing Group.

Kirstin was awarded a CBE in 2011 for her work during the financial crisis.

Robert Herga - Non-Executive Director



Robert is a solicitor with more than 30 years' experience of working in major corporations. Robert is currently General Counsel and Company Secretary at Gatwick Airport Limited having previously held that position at BAA plc and Carpetright plc. Prior to that he had undertaken legal roles within British Steel and BT. Robert is the Chairman of Trustees for the defined benefit pension scheme of Gatwick Airport Limited.

David Martin - Non-Executive Director



David Martin has over 45 years' experience in the pensions industry, including 30 years of giving direct advice to trustees of occupational pension schemes. He is an actuary and was a partner at Mercer Ltd and its predecessor companies (1980 to 2012).

David is involved at a senior level with the Actuarial Profession and is Chair of the Professionalism Committee of the International Actuarial Association.

Tilly Ross - Non-Executive Director



Tilly Ross is a qualified actuary and was until 2015 Global Head of Pensions at National Grid plc with responsibility for strategy, governance, benefits, administration, risk management and funding of pensions. She is an independent member of the Independent Governance Committee of Scottish Widows and Chair of Electricity Pensions Limited.

She was a non-executive director of The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) from 2010 to 2015 and is a former Chair of the CBI’s Pensions Panel.

Sarah Smart - Non-Executive Director


Sarah is an experienced non-executive director and independent trustee. She is a qualified chartered accountant and holds a portfolio of non-executive and advisory positions.

Sarah is Senior Independent Director and Chair of the Audit Committee for The Pensions Regulator. In addition, she acts as a senior adviser for Avida International and is an independent member of the Unilever Pension Scheme Investment and Funding Committee. She also chairs the Financial Times Pensions Governance Committee. Sarah is passionate about making the financial services industry work better for the people it serves.

Prior to moving to a portfolio career, Sarah worked in the investment management industry. She spent nine years with Standard Life Investments and was latterly responsible for developing and managing liability-driven and absolute return investment solutions for institutional investors. Sarah is highly respected within the pensions industry and has won many accolades for her innovative approach to pensions.

Margaret Snowdon OBE - Non-Executive Director



Margaret Snowdon OBE became a governor of the Pensions Policy Institute (PPI) in 2009 and joined the PPI’s Council in 2011. She chairs the PPI Council’s Funding Sub-Committee. In April 2015, she was appointed as a director of the Independent Governance Committee of the Phoenix Group Board and moved to the Phoenix Group With Profits Committees on 1 December 2017. She was appointed an independent non-executive director of XPS Pensions Group plc in February 2017 and became a member of the Advisory Board of Moneyhub Financial Technology Ltd in May 2018. Among other voluntary roles, she has been Chair of the Monitoring Board on Incentive Exercises since 2012 and also chairs the Pension Scams Industry Group that developed the Combating Pension Scams Code of Practice (first published March 2015). In January 2019, Margaret was given the honorary position of president of the Pensions Administration Standards Association, which she had chaired from its launch in 2011 until the end of 2018.

Margaret is a Fellow of the Pensions Management Institute and a Fellow of the Pensions Advisory Service, an organisation she also chaired between 2007 and 2010. She was appointed to HM Treasury's Pensions Dashboard Steering Group in September 2016 and continues to advise DWP on the project.

Helen Aston - Executive Director



Helen qualified as a chartered accountant (ICAEW) in 2001 and became a fellow in 2012. She was appointed to TPR’s Board as Executive Director of Finance and Corporate Services on 1 December 2015 and is a member of our Executive Committee. She has responsibility for finance, corporate planning and reporting, commercial, facilities, IT, change services and corporate governance, including the support to our Determinations Panel. She is a regular attendee of our Audit and Risk Assurance Committee and chairs the Portfolio Oversight Board. She is also the executive sponsor of our Women’s Network.

She additionally holds two non executive roles. In March 2019 she was appointed as an Independent Person to the Audit and Standards Committee at Brighton and Hove City Council and in June 2019 she was appointed non executive member of the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee of the Valuation Office Agency.

Prior to her Executive Director appointment, Helen worked for PwC for 15 years and held others roles within TPR. Whilst at PwC she worked with private equity houses, public and private companies providing financial due diligence and FTSE / AIM listing work. During the early part of the financial crisis, Helen also worked with a number of banking and corporate clients on restructures and insolvencies. Helen then decided to focus on pensions covenant work with PwC. She provided covenant advice for scheme funding, corporate transactions and corporate restructures and insolvencies to trustees of pension schemes and corporate clients, including a number of FTSE 100 companies. It was during that time, in 2011, she completed a secondment to TPR providing covenant and financial advice to the Frontline Regulation team. In 2013 Helen joined TPR permanently as a covenant adviser, later becoming Interim Finance Director before her Executive Director appointment.

David Fairs - Executive Director



David was appointed Executive Director of Regulatory Policy, Analysis and Advice on 2 July 2018.

He is responsible for development of policy for TPR and has oversight of TPR’s professional advisers including lawyers, actuaries, investment advisers and business analysts.

David is a former Chairman of the Association of Consulting Actuaries and Director of the Association of Consulting Actuaries Limited, a former Council member of the International Actuarial Association, and inaugural Chairman of the Joint Industry Forum for Workplace Pensions. He was also a Council member of the Society of Pension Consultants and is immediate past Chairman of the Actuaries Club.

David was a Senior Partner in the Pensions practice at KPMG where he advised on the design, implementation, management and communication of pensions and employee benefit arrangements. Immediately prior to joining TPR, David developed and lead the Trustee Board Effectiveness service provided by KPMG and in collaboration with the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association. He has previously worked with DWP and HM Treasury on pensions and pension taxation policy.

Jo Hill - Executive Director

Jo Hill - Executive Director

Jo was appointed Executive Director of Strategy and Risk on 12 November 2018. She is responsible for our corporate strategy and the associated regulatory model being developed through TPR Future ensuring TPR’s clearer, quicker and tougher regulatory approach continues to influence how it works with the pensions industry to protect workplace savers. This includes TPR’s plan for more proactive oversight on an ongoing basis of some the highest risk schemes across defined benefit (DB), defined contribution (DC) and public service. She will also lead on making better use of data to scan the wider horizon for emerging risks and plan accordingly.

Jo was previously Director of Market Intelligence, Data and Analysis at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) accountable for the delivery of the FCA's Data Strategy and Operations, RegTech agenda, the FCA’s recently established Advanced Analytics department and the Behavioural Economics and Data Science programme. Jo also oversaw the FCA’s Sector Views (common view of regulatory risk) and Consumer Insight, which includes the 'FCA Mission: Our Future Approach to Consumers' and 'Financial Lives' survey. Prior to her appointment as Director of Market Intelligence, Data and Analysis, Jo held a number of roles across the FCA and Financial Services Authority in strategy, supervision, authorisations and enforcement, as well as holding roles in the banking and insurance industries.

Nicola Parish - Executive Director



Nicola was appointed to TPR’s Board as Executive Director of Frontline Regulation on 1 August 2016 having previously held a number of roles at TPR.

Nicola is now responsible for overseeing all of our frontline activities from intelligence gathering and analysis, activities by our Customer Support team and our case work from more straightforward compliance with the basics through to complex enforcement case work. Whilst at TPR Nicola has been Director of Case Management and Director of Legal Services and Enterprise Risk Management.

She joined TPR as a litigation lawyer in 2008 having previously managed investigations in the Enforcement Division of the FSA.

Nicola was a senior prosecutions lawyer at the Securities and Futures Authority and a commercial litigator at City firm Denton Hall where she began her career.