We have an experienced, founder-led management team. Our employees are core to the success of the Group, both individually and collectively. Our employees enjoy a diverse and vibrant work environment which enables them to achieve their aspirations and reach their full potential. We encourage each employee to embrace our values to make a positive difference.

 
Biography

Paul Thompson

Group CEO

Paul is Group CEO and co-founded the Group in 2013.

  • Initial career as an investment banker specialising in financial institutions.
  • Joined Britannic Group in 2002 as Group FD and appointed Group CEO in 2003. Led the restructuring of the Group and its repositioning as a life assurance consolidator.
  • Merged with Resolution I in 2005, becoming Group CEO of the merged group. The resultant entity was subsequently sold to Pearl Group (now Phoenix) in 2008.
  • Head of Pamplona financial services practice, leading investments in Chaucer (UK listed Lloyds underwriter) and Oakwood (UK specialist mortgage servicer) between 2008 and 2012.
  • Co-founded Utmost Group in 2013.
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Biography

Ian Maidens

Group CFO

Ian is Group CFO and co-founded the Group in 2013.

  • Started his career in life assurance and subsequently moved to actuarial consultancy.
  • Worked with Resolution I from its inception in early 2003.
  • Following the merger with Britannic Group, Ian was a director of the resulting Resolution plc and Group Chief Actuary and Head of Corporate Development.
  • Became a founding partner of Resolution II in 2008, and led the activity to create what became Friends Life Group.
  • Left Resolution II to co-found Utmost Group when arrangements between the Resolution group and the listed company ended in 2013.
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Biography

Anne Marie Shepherd

HEAD OF STRATEGY AND CORPORATE AFFAIRS

Anne Marie leads strategy and corporate affairs for the Group, working closely with the founders of the business and reporting to the Group CEO. She also heads the Investor Relations and Sustainability functions.

  • Previously worked in Goldman Sachs advising insurance companies on strategy and balance sheet management.
  • Qualified as an actuary.
  • MA in Mathematics from Trinity College, Cambridge University.
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Biography

Phil Cullis

Head of Group Tax

Phil is Head of Group Tax, reporting to the Group CFO.

  • Trained with KPMG, qualifying as a Chartered Tax Adviser in 2001.
  • Subsequently worked for a number of life assurance groups, including Scottish Widows, Swiss Re, the Phoenix Group and Guardian Financial Services.
  • He has worked on a large number of M&A transactions, including the acquisition by Swiss Re of Barclays Life, the acquisition by Guardian of Ark Life and the sale of Guardian to Swiss Re.
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Biography

Nick Stringer

Head of Group Finance

Nick is Head of Group Finance, reporting to the Group CFO.

  • Nick joined in September 2017 and heads up the Group Finance team, reporting directly to the Group CFO.
  • Trained as a Chartered Accountant with Ernst & Young LLP, providing audit and assurance services across a range of financial services clients.
  • Specialising in the insurance sector, Nick has previously worked in listed insurers across GI, Life and Lloyds of London markets.
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Biography

Corinna Bridges

Group Company Secretary

Corinna is Group Company Secretary reporting to the Group CFO.

  • Trained as a Chartered Secretary with KPMG, providing company secretarial services to a range of clients.
  • Brings a broad range of experience to the Utmost Group, having worked across sectors including life insurance and FTSE-listed mining and media groups.
  • Played a key role in a number of large corporate transactions, including the acquisition of Friends Life by Aviva in 2015, the disposal of PR Newswire by UBM and the disposal of Rio Tinto’s thermal coal business.
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Biography

Neil Povey

Group Actuary

Neil is a Group Actuary, reporting to the Group CFO.

  • Joined Utmost Group in April 2019 to assist the Group CFO with actuarial responsibilities across the Group including M&A, capital optimisation and the development of Group policy.
  • A qualified actuary, Neil brings 10 years’ of experience working in the life insurance industry.
  • Prior to joining Utmost Group, Neil worked at Prudential UK, where he developed Solvency II projection capabilities, transacted bulk annuity deals, set with-profit bonuses and reported on annuities and ERMs.
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Biography

Sandra Knowles

Group Head of HR

Sandra is Group Head of HR, reporting to the Group CEO.

  • Sandra leads the Group’s HR capabilities, ensuring our HR teams deliver full and effective support to achieving the Group’s strategy and target culture.
  • Joined Utmost Group in February 2021 from Aviva plc where she worked for 15 years in a variety of roles, latterly as Head of HR Business Partnering.
  • In 2018/19, Sandra was seconded from Aviva into a London based charity, Business in the Community, as their Director of People and Culture.
  • Prior to Aviva, she worked in HR roles at Addleshaw Goddard Solicitors, Davies Arnold Cooper Solicitors, Lloyds Register of Shipping and in various NHS Trusts.
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