Ex-MAS CEO named head of UK pensions watchdog

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Pensions watchdog The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) has appointed Caroline Rookes as its interim chair.

Rooks was Chief Executive of the Money Advice Service until 2017, overseeing a period of organisational transformation. 

Prior to that she was Director of Private Pensions at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). She is also an experienced pension trustee and from 2015 to 2019 was a non-executive trustee for the NEST Corporation.

“I am pleased to welcome Caroline Rookes into this important role”, said Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, Guy Opperman.

“She brings with her formidable expertise and I am very much looking forward to working together to champion pension members rights.”

TPO has expanded considerably over the last four years, from what was a small organisation of approximately 40 staff, to a service that now includes an early resolution function and has grown to a headcount of 111.  

As Director of Private Pensions, Rookes had regular dealings with TPO and is also familiar with the other pensions arms length bodies with which TPO has regular dealings.

As interim chair, Rookes will help the board strengthen its governance to better reflect the organisation’s transformation, both in terms of size and the complexity of its work, as recommended by the tailored review.

“I am delighted to have been appointed as interim chair of The Pensions Ombudsman”, Rookes said. 

“I look forward to working with Anthony and his team to improve still further this important service for pension customers.”

Pensions Ombudsman Anthony Arter added: “I am delighted to welcome Caroline Rookes to The Pensions Ombudsman as interim chair. 

“TPO has undergone an extensive transformation over the last few years and Caroline’s breadth of experience will help us to take it to the next level, ensuring we can continue to improve dispute resolution for our customers and the pensions industry.”

Following recommendations made in the TPO tailored review, DWP is working with the Ombudsman to set up a board structure which will support organisational growth. Following public appointment rules, DWP has appointed an interim chair to support the recruitment for this board structure.

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