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Judging Panel 2024

Andy Dixon, Head of Business Development and Marketing, Harvest Financial
Mohsin Harhara, Head of Pensions, Skanska
Deirdre Horan, Head of Reward and Benefits, Tesco Ireland
Emer Kirk, CEO, Financial Planning Standards Board Ireland DAC
Martin Leech, Expert in Pensions
Rickard Mills, Non-Executive Director and Pension Fund Trustee
John O'Connell, Owner, Trident Consulting
Frank O’Riordan, Independent Director and Pension Trustee
Fionán O'Sullivan, Director - Employee Benefit Solutions, Trust Matters
James Skehan, Independent Professional Trustee

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Andy Dixon, Head of Business Development and Marketing, Harvest Financial
Andy joined Harvest in 2018 with 14 years’ experience in the life and pensions industry in Ireland. During this time, Andy provided technical support to independent intermediaries in the provision of retirement planning and investment advice. Andy has attained the QFA, FLIA and RPA designations, is past Chair of the North East Regional Committee of the Life Assurance Association, and is a current member of the Dublin Committee. Andy also holds the Certified Financial Planner® designation with the Institute of Banking and is committed to delivering best-in-class advice to clients.

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Mohsin Harhara, Head of Pensions, Skanska
Mohsin is the Head of Pensions at Skanska and a Director sitting on a number of the UK pension schemes trustee boards and sub-committees, and the DC governance committee He was previously the Head of Pensions at Evelyn Partners and Head of Pensions at Mott MacDonald where he was responsible for pension strategy and overall management of the pension schemes including governance matters. Prior to this he has held pension and employee benefits consultancy roles with various advisory firms which include WTW and PwC, advising companies ranging from SMEs to FTSE100s helping them with their strategic plans and managing various projects in areas such as DB liability and risk management, auto-enrolment and pension scheme and benefit design.

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Deirdre Horan, Head of Reward and Benefits, Tesco Ireland
Dee has vast experience in financial services and since August 2021 heads up the Reward and Benefits Team in Tesco Ireland. Dee leads a team which is responsible for designing, delivering, managing and evolving the employee reward and benefit offering in an ever-changing and dynamic marketplace. Previously, Dee worked as a Pension Consultant in Willis Towers Watson where she supported trustees and employers from a compliance, governance and communication perspective. In Aviva as their Corporate Pension Manager, she partnered with financial brokers and corporate clients, tailoring the pension service proposition to meet their needs and those of their members. In addition to her Degree in Insurance and French from the University of Limerick, relevant to the pensions arena she also holds a Pensions Diploma and a qualification as a Trustee Practitioner.

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Emer Kirk, CEO, Financial Planning Standards Board Ireland DAC
As CEO of the Financial Planning Standards Board Ireland, Emer leads the organisation responsible for the prestigious CFP® professional designation in Ireland, while also driving the promotion of elevated standards in personal financial planning. With an extensive background in the industry spanning two decades, Emer previously held a senior position at a wealth management firm, specialising in delivering financial planning advice to private clients in the crucial stages of approaching and navigating retirement. With almost 20 years’ experience in the pensions industry, she has a strong client focus and a goals-based retirement planning bias, and is passionate about helping clients make informed financial decisions to achieve their lifestyle aspirations. She is an Associate of the Institute of Taxation, a Qualified Financial Adviser and a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®). Emer is co-founder of Connect Women in Pensions, a network that advocates for the significance of retirement planning specifically for women.

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Martin Leech, Expert in Pensions
Martin has worked in the corporate pensions area for the last 50 years. Most recently, he focussed on the trusteeship of such pension arrangements. Among other professional qualifications, he is a Fellow of the Irish Institute of Pensions Management as well as holding its Qualified Pension Trustee designation. He was a long-serving member on the Institute’s Council and is also a past president. Over the years, he has held a wide variety of roles ranging from administrative to legal and technical with a particular emphasis on benefit settlements. From this, he has built up a wide experience of the developments in the Irish pensions world. These cover issues, many of which are ongoing, such as retirement and death benefit adequacy in both defined benefit and defined contribution plans, member outcomes and the impact of the increasing regulatory requirements.

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Rickard Mills, Non-Executive Director and Pension Fund Trustee
Rickard is a pensions expert with over 20 years of active involvement in the management and oversight of Irish pension schemes. He is a non-executive director of Irish Pensions Trust (IPT) and the Irish Association of Pension Funds (IAPF). He is also a non-executive director of European Movement Ireland, where he is a member of both the audit, risk & compliance and the remuneration committees. His current pension trusteeships include the KBC Bank Ireland DB and DC pension schemes. He has carried out a number of recent projects assisting companies on their selection of a suitable master trust. Rickard’s qualifications include being a Qualified Pension Trustee and a Chartered Accountant and he has over 25 years’ experience at a senior level in the financial services industry. In addition to pensions, his expertise spans a wide range of disciplines including corporate governance, corporate affairs, taxation and structured financing.

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John O'Connell, Owner, Trident Consulting
John is an actuary and QPT who has worked in the pension and investment areas for the last thirty-five years. He founded advisory firm Trident Consulting in 2006 and corporate trustee Trident Pension Trustees Ltd in 2010. He previously worked for Irish Life, Life of Jamaica and Mercer. John specialises in the provision of independent pensions advice to trustees and employers and acts as a trustee to a number of group pension schemes including chair of the trustees of a large master trust. Trident Consulting also provides services to public sector employers and public servants through the pension team collaboration.

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Frank O’Riordan, Independent Director and Pension Trustee
Frank is a Central Bank of Ireland approved fit and proper director. He has almost 40 years of experience in the asset and funds management industry. He has operated at senior levels at both executive and board levels including CEO and chair level. His portfolio of responsibilities include being an independent director, chair and OED of 8 ICAVs. He is a trustee of the AIB Group Irish pension scheme and is chair of the investment committee. He has acted as advisor to a number of boards of financial services companies with assets of over $25 billion. Frank is former president of the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment (CISI) in Ireland and is a director of the Retirement Planning Council of Ireland. He has both primary and post graduate degrees in economics, finance and statistics from both University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin.

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Fionán O’Sullivan, Director - Employee Benefit Solutions, Trust Matters
Fionán has worked in the corporate pensions & benefits industry since 1995 with vast experience in designing, managing and co-ordinating benefit arrangements for small, medium, and large corporate clients. Fionán has recently gone into partnership with Andrew O'Loughlin, CEO of Trust Matters Financial Planning. As the name suggests, Trust Matters’ approach as a financial service provider is based on establishing long-term, trusted relationships with complete transparency. Trust Matters values openness and honesty in all interactions with its clients, so that mutual trust is the foundation of the relationship. Providing financial peace of mind is Trust Matters’ number one objective. Supporting its clients and taking care of its greatest asset, its people, is its job and it works to ensure its words translate to visible, valuable action. Trust Matters specialises in all aspects of financial planning and employee benefits.

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James Skehan, Independent Professional Trustee
James has over 45 years’ experience working in the pensions industry, many of which were in senior positions with insurance companies, indigenous and multi-national brokers, and corporate trustees. He was head of pensions in New Ireland from 2001 to 2019 and was also CEO of general investment trust, New Ireland’s corporate trustee company from 2008 to 2019. Since 2020, he has been acting as an independent professional trustee and advises employers and trustees on pension issues. He is currently working with a number of schemes who are transitioning to master trusts and, in 2022, he oversaw a change in registered administrator for a scheme with over 5,000 members and assets of €300m. He is also a lecturer on LIA’s post graduate diploma in financial planning.



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