Senior Leadership

 

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    Steve Sands

    Partner, Mercer Private Wealth Leader


    With 30 years’ experience of working in financial services, Steve’s passion is to lead teams to achieve great things. Steve truly believes that when galvanised behind a common purpose and when empowered with possibility, teams can achieve greatness.

     

    By creating a vibrant culture and a great place to work, colleagues will naturally deliver a superior client experience.

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    Gordon Armstrong

    Head of Advice


    Gordon joined the financial services industry 39 years ago and has worked in a range of industry roles, originally within technical areas before moving to be a Financial Planner in the mid-1990s.

     

    Gordon worked closely with solicitors and accountants over that period and understands that much of financial planning is built around tax planning in one form or another. As Head of Advice, Gordon’s role mostly involves running the Advising team as well as other duties within Mercer Private Wealth. Gordon is a Chartered Financial Planner and continues to advise some long standing clients.

     

    Away from work, Gordon enjoys spending time with family and friends, walking and cycling. He is a bit of a lapsed golfer and his current ambition is to start playing again more regularly, if he can find the time!

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    Darryn Lake

    Chief Investment Officer

     

    Darryn has over 27 years’ experience working in financial services, with roles ranging from compliance, operational support, research to investment and fund management. Darryn has been the Chief Investment Officer for Mercer Private Wealth, for over 10 years and is also the Chairman of the Mercer Tactical Asset Allocation Group and the Mercer Private Wealth Investment Policy Group. Darryn is also a Chartered member of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment.

     

    Key areas of expertise:

     

    • Asset allocation
    • Portfolio management
    • Investment markets
    • Investment risk
    • Asset safe custody 

     

    Away from work, Darryn enjoys spending time with his children, playing and watching sport, walking his chocolate Labrador and is an avid and extensive reader of books.

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    Max Dinning

    Head of Operations


    Having worked in financial services for the past 25 years, Max transitioned from accounting and finance functions (where he became a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Certified Accountants) to operational leadership 10 years ago. Since making that move, Max has lead a number of operational integrations and transformations. He enjoys ensuring that a business is equipped to deliver a first class client experience, both efficient and secure. 

     

    In Max’s spare time, he is kept busy with his three young children and attempts to keep his French Horn playing in shape.

 

 

Regional Leaders

 

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    Paul Howard

      


    Paul has 27 years’ experience working in financial services. His current role is a Senior Regional Leader for the Midlands, North of England and Scotland at Mercer, where he provides supervision, training and development, as well as coaching interactions for a team of 10 Chartered Financial Planners across the UK. Paul is a member of the Personal Finance Society and a Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute, he has advised clients for many years before moving into a senior management role.

     

    Key areas of expertise:

     

    • Investment and pre-retirement planning, including cash flow forecasting, annual allowance and lifetime allowance planning advice
    • Post retirement planning including retirement options advice
    • Ongoing investment management advice for investment and pension wrappers
    • Inheritance tax planning, including the use of Trust’s and Business Property Relief solutions
    • Personal and business protection including key person cover, shareholder protection and relevant life policies

     

    Outside of work, Paul enjoys playing tennis and cycling and regularly participates in organised events to raise funds for his preferred charity Cancer Research. Paul also captains and coaches junior Cricket for his local team during the summer months.

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    Paul Woolston

      


    Paul’s current role is a Senior Regional Leader for London at Mercer.

     

    Paul has 28 years’ experience working in a range of financial services roles; starting as an adviser for a Bank assurer, moving on to an insurance company and then working as an IFA.  In 2008, Paul started his first role in management being responsible for a team of financial planners and from there he has led a variety of teams in financial planning and employee benefits.

     

    Paul’s background gives him an insight into the issues that financial planners deal with on a day-to-day basis, and he has a desire to lead the team to ensure they provide a high level of customer service. Paul is passionate about the use of technology to complement the services that Mercer provides on a face-to-face basis.

     

    Away from work, Paul enjoys walking the surrounding countryside with his family and enjoys playing and watching a range of sports. Through his own admission – it’s less of the playing these days though, so his ideal weekend is watching his son play rugby or cricket.

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    Russell Douglass

      


    Russell has worked in the financial advice sector since 2001, with his current role as a Senior Regional Leader for the South and South West of England.

     

    Having started out his career in a small IFA business, Russell built up continuous service for over 15 years, although he has been involved in various ownership changes during that time, with the latest development change being Mercer via the acquisition of JLT in 2019.

     

    Russell’s career began by advising clients specialising in tax, investment and pensions. He became a Chartered Financial Planner in 2008, before moving on to manage a team of Financial Planners. Whilst he has kept a small number of clients in order to “keep his hand in”, his main role now is to use his skills and experience to help develop his colleagues to give the best possible advice.

     

    Russell takes an active role in shaping the future direction of the business as part of his involvement in Mercer’s internal advice and operations executive committees.

 

 

Financial Planners

 

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    Alex Bold

      


    Alex has 14 years’ experience working in financial services, within a variety of roles, managing teams, advising on group pension schemes and as a Financial Planner working with personal wealth.

     

    Alex likes being able to put his qualifications to good use and help clients to reach their objectives.

     

    Key areas of expertise:

     

    • Retirement income planning for those approaching and at retirement
    • Personal tax mitigation (including inheritance tax planning and pensions tax for higher earners)
    • Tax efficient lump sum and regular investments 
    • Personal and business protection

     

    Away from work, Alex has recently stopped playing football and taken up golf. Alex and his wife enjoy eating out with friends, socialising and having plenty of fun with their 2-year-old daughter!

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    Alex Reeves

      


    Alex has over 30 years’ experience working in financial services and has been with Mercer since June 2018. During his time as a Financial Planner, he has gained a wealth of experience and knowledge as well as attaining professional qualifications. He is qualified to advise on all aspects of financial planning.

     

    Key areas of expertise:

     

    • Retirement planning
    • Pension consolidation and transfer advice, including defined benefit schemes
    • Inheritance tax mitigation strategies
    • Tax efficient investment solutions
    • Individual protection
    • Business Protection

     

    Outside of work, Alex enjoys spending time with family and likes most sports, especially football, cricket and rugby.

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    Andrew Power

      


    Andrew has over 30 years’ experience working in financial services, with roles ranging from a Pension Consultant where he’d advise companies on their group pension arrangements, to his current role as a Financial Planner with Mercer. During this time, Andrew developed his skills and technical knowledge as well as attaining the required professional qualifications, including being qualified as a Pension Transfer Specialist.

     

    Key areas of expertise:

     

    • Retirement income planning for those approaching and at retirement
    • Personal tax mitigation (including inheritance tax planning and pensions tax for higher earners)
    • Tax efficient lump sum and regular investments
    • Personal and business protection

     

    Away from work, Andrew enjoys spending time with family, including walking the dogs, playing golf and skiing.

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    Carl Staveley

      


    Carl is a Chartered Wealth Manager, Chartered Financial Planner, Certified Financial Planner and Fellow of The Personal Finance Society, with over 30 years’ experience in financial services.

     

    Carl is a member of The Personal Finance Society (PFS) and The Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI).  As a member of these professional bodies, Carl is required to undertake continuous professional development. This demonstrates an ongoing commitment to professionalism and the highest standards of knowledge, skills, competence and behaviour. 

     

    Carl’s role is to support clients to manage, enhance and protect their wealth. He works across all client areas.

     

    Key areas of expertise:

     

    • Investment and pre-retirement planning
    • Near and post retirement planning
    • Inheritance tax
    • Individual protection
    • Business protection (including key person cover and business succession planning)

     

    Outside work, Carl enjoys relaxing with family and watching football.

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    Chris Wilson

      


    Chris has practised as a Financial Planner since the mid-1980s, advising a range of individuals, corporate clients and trusts. Many of those clients have received holistic advice from Chris for more than 20 years.

     

    Key areas of expertise:

     

    • Retirement income planning for those approaching and at retirement
    • Personal tax mitigation (including inheritance tax planning, pensions tax for higher earners and use of tax sheltering schemes)
    • Intergenerational tax planning for families
    • Personal and business protection
    • Methods for investing corporate cash which was traditionally viewed as working capital, but which attracts only negligible interest at best.
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    Craig Jenkins

      


    Craig has spent the last 17 years working as a Financial Planner, providing a wide range of advice to meet client needs. Nearly four years ago, Craig was awarded Chartered Financial Planner status, which demonstrates his commitment to providing clients with the best possible financial advice to suit their situation.

     

    Craig enjoys using his experience and skills to understand a client’s specific needs and objectives, then working with them to ensure their objectives are met.

     

    Key areas of expertise:

     

    • Cashflow modelling
    • Pre and Post retirement planning
    • Inheritance tax mitigation
    • Business and personal protection
    • Personal and pension taxation
    • Long Term Care funding

     

    Outside of work, Craig enjoys spending time with his young family and following a variety of different sports, in particular rugby.

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    Claire Keen

      


    Claire considers herself to be a people person; she loves meeting new clients and finding out what they really want in life and helping them achieve their goals. Claire is a holistic adviser who is able to consider all areas of financial planning to meet people’s specific needs. 

     

    Claire has more than 18 years’ experience working in financial services, in roles ranging from Pensions Administration through to Financial Planner. During that time, she has gained a wealth of experience and technical knowledge as well as attaining professional qualifications. Claire is a member of the Personal Finance Society (PFS) and Diploma qualified. 

     

    Key areas of expertise:

     

    • Pensions and retirement planning
    • Defined benefit (final salary) pension analysis
    • Investment review and advice
    • Retirement Forecasting

     

    Outside of work, Claire enjoys spending time with family, taking long walks with her dog, running and socialising with friends.

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    Emma Lloyd-Jones

      


    Emma’s passion is meeting new clients and building long term business relationships with them. Emma prides herself with having an exceptional skill for understanding client needs and objectives whatever their stage in life and guiding them through the required advice for their needs and circumstances.

     

    Emma has more than 20 years’ experience working in financial services, and has been a fully qualified Financial Planner for the last 16 years. 

     

    Key areas of expertise:

     

    • Cash flow modelling and financial plans
    • Pensions and retirement planning- both accumulation and decumulation phases
    • Defined benefit (final salary) pension analysis and advice
    • Inheritance Tax and Estate Planning

     

    Outside of work, Emma is a happily married mother of two. As a family, they are passionate about sports and being outdoors in their spare time.

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    Emma Vincent

      


    Emma has worked in the financial services industry for over 30 years, starting as an administrator with a large national IFA firm. Having successfully achieved various industry qualifications along the way, including Pension Specialist, Emma is currently a Chartered Financial Planner, studying towards achieving a Fellowship. Throughout her career, Emma has advised both individuals and corporate clients.

     

    Key areas of expertise:

     

    • Retirement income planning for those approaching and at retirement, including defined benefit pension transfers.
    • Personal tax mitigation (including inheritance tax planning, lifetime and annual allowance advice)
    • Tax efficient lump sum and regular investments
    • Personal and business protection

     

    When not studying, Emma enjoys vegan cooking with family, tap dancing and improving her long distance running to achieve that ultimate goal of running her first marathon.

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    James Lupan

      


    James has more than 18 years’ experience working in financial services, in roles ranging from an Administrator, a Paraplanner and now a Financial Planner. During that time, James has gained a wealth of experience and knowledge as well as attaining professional qualifications. James is qualified to advise individuals on all aspects of financial planning.

     

    Key areas of expertise: 

     

    • Investment and pre-retirement planning, including cash flow forecasting, annual allowance and lifetime allowance planning advice
    • Post retirement planning including retirement options advice
    • Ongoing investment management advice for investment and pension wrappers
    • Inheritance tax planning, including the use of Trust’s and Business Property Relief solutions
    • Personal and business protection, including key person cover, shareholder protection and relevant life policies

     

    Outside of work, James enjoys playing golf and spending time with family and friends.

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    James Tweedale

      


    James has 23 years’ experience working in financial services, with roles ranging from a Pension Consultant where he advised companies on their group pension arrangements and helping employees around retirement decisions, to his current role as a Financial Planner with Mercer. During this time, James developed his skills and technical knowledge as well as attaining professional qualifications.

     

    Key areas of expertise:

     

    • Retirement income planning for those approaching and at retirement
    • Pension Transfers 
    • Personal tax mitigation (including inheritance tax planning and pensions tax for higher earners)
    • Tax efficient lump sum and regular investments
    • Personal and business protection

     

    Away from work, James enjoys spending time with family, travelling to explore new places, walking, cooking, playing golf and watching most sports. He can also speak French relatively well having lived in Normandy for a year.

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    Ken McCall

      


    Ken has more than 28 years’ experience working in financial services, in roles ranging from corporate employee benefits, including managing workplace pension schemes, to providing financial advice to individuals. During that time, Ken gained a wealth of experience and knowledge as well as attaining professional qualifications.

     

    Ken is qualified to advise clients on all aspects of financial planning however does have a number of areas in which he specialises. 

     

    Key areas of expertise:

     

    • Retirement planning
    • Pension consolidation and transfer advice, including Defined Benefit schemes
    • Inheritance tax mitigation strategies
    • Tax efficient investment solutions
    • Individual protection

     

    Outside of work, Ken enjoys spending time with his family, long walks and keeping fit.

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    Kimberley Mannings

      


    Kimberley has 15 years’ experience working in financial services, within a number of roles, with the last 11 years as a Financial Planner. During this time, Kimberley developed her skills and technical knowledge as well as attaining professional qualifications. She holds Chartered status and is a Fellow of the Personal Finance Society.

     

    Key areas of expertise:

     

    • Retirement income planning for those approaching and at retirement
    • Personal tax mitigation (including inheritance tax planning and pensions tax for higher earners)
    • Tax efficient lump sum and regular investments
    • Cashflow planning
    • Financial planning around divorce
    • Personal and business protection
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    Martin Proctor

      


    Martin has now been in the financial services industry for over 34 years, learning his trade with some of the top UK insurance companies. In 2000, Martin joined a top 10 Global accountancy firm to provide bespoke financial advice to their clients, both individual and Corporate. This provided Martin with a really good grounding in tax planning.

     

    Key areas of expertise:

     

    • Maximising income leading up to and at retirement using tax breaks including pensions, investments, VCT’s EIS’s and AIM
    • Inheritance Tax Planning
    • How Directors can make the most out of Company profits
    • Helping clients to get the best out of their capital

     

    Outside of work, Martin likes to keep fit by walking the dog, circuit training and cycling. He also enjoys sailing, cruiser racing from his local club, taking holidays in hot sunny climes and skiing.

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    Michael Kessler

      


    Michael has close to 25 years’ experience in working within financial services. During that time, Michael has gained a wealth of experience and knowledge, as well as attaining professional qualifications. Michael works across all client areas. 

     

    Key areas of expertise: 

     

    • Pre and post retirement planning
    • Investment advice
    • Inheritance tax planning
    • Pension legislation and taxation
    • Pension transfer analysis work

     

    Outside of work, Michael enjoys playing and watching many sports. His sporting highlights are running the London Marathon in 2015 having raised money for Cancer Research UK and in his role as football manager for his son’s team, becoming League Champions in 2016.

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    Michael Samara

      


    Michael has been in the financial services industry for over 30 years. In that time, Michael has been a holistic financial planner across a range of financial planning needs, including Pensions, Investment, Risk management and Inheritance Tax planning.

     

    Key areas of expertise:

     

    • Investment and pre-retirement planning
    • Near and post retirement planning
    • Inheritance tax
    • Individual protection
    • Business protection (including key person cover, business succession planning)
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    Mike Franks

      


    Mike has 13 years’ experience working in financial services, with roles ranging from Pensions Consultant where he’d advised companies on their pension arrangements, to his current role as a Financial Planner with Mercer Private Wealth. During this time, Mike developed his skills and technical knowledge as well as attaining professional qualifications.

     

    Key areas of expertise:

     

    • Retirement planning for individuals and couples
    • Lump sum / regular investments
    • Personal tax planning (including inheritance tax and pensions tax allowances)
    • Personal protection policies (life assurance, critical illness, income protection)
    • Business protection (key person cover, relevant life policies)

     

    Away from work, Mike enjoys running and playing tennis, and is also a keen amateur chef and loves to travel.

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    Nathan Corcoran

      


    Nathan enjoys meeting new clients and building long term business relationships with them. Nathan takes the time to listen and understand client needs and objectives, whatever their stage in life. He guides them through the required advice to improve their circumstances now and support them in the future.

     

    Nathan has more than 20 years’ experience working in financial services, and he has been a fully qualified Financial Planner for 15 years, advising clients during times of challenging market conditions and buoyant economic cycles, and this experience has enhanced the advice he provides clients. As a Mercer Financial Planner, Nathan is able to pull on a bank of expertise within the company that truly adds value to the service he provides both his private and corporate clients.

     

    Nathan is also Diploma qualified and a member of The Personal Finance Society and Chartered Insurance Institute.

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    Neil Taylor

      

     

    Neil is a Chartered Financial Planner and Fellow of the Personal Finance Society with over 20 years experience in the industry. Neil’s aim is to always offer a first class experience to clients to suit their needs, to help them succeed financially and achieve their dreams & aspirations.

     

    Key areas of expertise:

     

    • Investment and pre-retirement planning
    • Post retirement planning
    • Inheritance tax planning
    • Individual protection planning
    • Business Protection planning

     

    Outside of work Neil is a very keen fisherman, a keen amateur cook, enjoys exercise & sport and travel with his wife and 2 dogs.

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    Neville Khorshidchehr

      


    Neville holds a degree in Economics and Economic History from the University of Warwick (2002) and he is a Fellow of the Personal Finance Society. He is also a Chartered Financial Planner and Chartered Wealth Manager CFPTM

     

    Prior to joining Mercer in 2010, Neville worked for Tilney (formerly Towry Law) and for MLP, a leading German private wealth management company, providing wealth management and pension advice to Senior Executives and NHS consultants.

     

    Neville is a West Ham fan and spends most weekends playing Uber to two energetic boys. He also likes to pretend he can play golf!

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    Regina Tan

      


    Regina has over 30 years' experience in the financial services industry, with 20 years’ continuous service with Mercer, following different acquisitions (Drawdown Bureau to Alexander Forbes to JLT and Mercer in 2019). Regina is a Fellow of the Personal Finance Society and a Chartered Financial Planner, with a wide experience on advising individuals on all aspects of their personal financial planning.

     

    She has been involved in corporate projects to support employee benefit programmes and supports her clients and colleagues through mentoring, as a Pension Transfer Specialist.