About us

Chris Pond
Chair

CHRIS POND

Chris Pond (Chair) is also Chair of the Lending Standards Board and the Equity Release Council Standards Board and is an independent director with Current Account Switch Service (part of Pay.UK) and of Cape Claims Services, an asbestos compensation scheme. Chris is also a trustee of the Money and Mental Health Policy institute (for which he chairs the Mental Health and Income Commission) and is a member of the Treasury FinTech Development Panel. Chris has in the past been CEO of two national charities (Low Pay Unit and Gingerbread) and chair or trustee of many others, most recently The Money Charity and GambleAware. He was Member of Parliament for Gravesham between 1997 and 2005, serving as Work and Pensions Minister and as a ministerial aide in the Treasury.

Liz Barclay
Vice Chair

LIZ BARCLAY

Liz Barclay is a small business and consumer affairs broadcaster, writer and consumer champion: Financial Inclusion Commissioner; Chair of the Fair by Design Campaign (to tackle the poverty premium) and the BSI Consumer Forum; non-executive Director of the Lending Standards Board and CCA Global; and a member of the Fundraising Regulator Standards Board and The Equity Release Council Standards Board. She is an Ambassador for the Money Advice Trust/Business Debtline.

Liz runs BackinBusiness.org.uk to give small businesses a voice with policy makers and works with Boards and small businesses on improving governance, trust and culture, diversity, and understanding customer behaviour. She coaches communication and presentation skills and chairs national and international conferences.

Sian Williams
Vice Chair

SIAN WILLIAMS

Sian Williams is Head of National Services at Toynbee Hall in London’s East End. Sian has been responsible for Toynbee Hall’s local and national financial inclusion programmes since October 2009, including Transact (the UK’s national forum for financial inclusion), financial inclusion training, research, evaluation and strategic consultancy.

Sian takes a whole systems approach to financial well-being, supporting organisations to develop policies and practice which make it easier for people to make the most of their money. She has co-led the Financially Inclusive Tower Hamlets programme, which adopts this environmental approach within one of the UK’s most deprived communities. Sian’s team have also created a ground-breaking needs and impact digital measurement tool for financial health, the MAP Tool, to fill the gaps around knowing “what works” in financial health interventions.

Sian provides advice on financial inclusion to financial services providers, and is a member of advisory groups for the Payments Council, the LINK Scheme, the BBA, DWP, HMT and the Big Lottery. Sian is also a member of the new PSR Panel, and a trustee for the Money Advice Trust.

Sir Brian Pomeroy
Vice President

SIR BRIAN POMEROY CBE

Sir Brian Pomeroy CBE was formerly Chair of the Treasury’s Financial Inclusion Taskforce. He was the senior independent director of the Financial Conduct Authority and Chair of the UK government’s Action Group on Cross-Border Remittances.  He was formerly a trustee of Money Advice Trust, for which he now acts as an Ambassador. He is a non-executive director of QBE Insurance Group 

He was formerly chair of the Independent Commission on Equitable Life Payments, the Gambling Commission, the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board, the Payments Council, the National Lottery Commission, Centrepoint, Homeless Link and The Photographers’ Gallery; a member of the Financial Reporting Review Panel, the Audit Commission and the Disability Rights Taskforce and The Social Market Foundation; and a Nominated Member of the Council of Lloyd’s.  He was the Senior Partner of Deloitte Consulting. 

Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles
Vice President

SIR SHERARD COWPER-COLES

Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles is Senior Adviser to the Group Chairman and Group Chief Executive of HSBC Holdings. Before HSBC Sherard worked as Business Development Director, International, at BAE Systems plc. Earlier he spent over 30 years in the British Diplomatic Service, serving in Cairo, Washington and Paris. He was also Principal Private Secretary to the UK Foreign Secretary, the late Robin Cook, and was Head of the Foreign Office Hong Kong Department from 1994 until the handover to China in 1997. Sherard was the UK Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (2009 – 2010), Ambassador to Afghanistan (2007 – 2009), Ambassador to Saudi Arabia (2003 – 2007) and Ambassador to Israel (2001 – 2003).

Sherard is a Board Member of the China Britain Business Council; UK Chairman of the Omani-British Friendship Association (business council); and Chairman of the Saudi-British Society and of Pitzhanger Manor Trust.

Martin Coppack

MARTIN COPPACK

Martin is the Director of the Fair by Design Campaign which campaigns to end the poverty premium – the extra costs of being poor. With a background in consumer advocacy, grant-making and regulation, he has held a range of positions, all with the common objective of placing low income and vulnerable people at the heart of policy-making. 

Whilst at the Financial Conduct Authority he created its model for engaging with consumer and special interest groups as well as its consumer vulnerability and financial inclusion programmes, leading to nationwide changes for consumers. At the Big Lottery Fund he led the creation of its £31.7 million financial capability and inclusion programme. 

Martin is a Trustee of Young Scot, a member of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada’s Consumer Protection Advisory Committee and an Adviser to the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute. He has been a board member of the Association of Charitable Foundations, the Nationwide Foundation, the Institute of Consumer Affairs, as well as a Commissioner for Scope’s Commission on Extra Costs for Disabled People.

Bim Afolami MP

BIM AFOLAMI MP

Bim has been MP for Hitchen and Harpenden since 2017. Before this Bim spent ten years in the City advising some of the biggest companies in the world, both British and international – first as a corporate lawyer at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, then as a Senior Executive at HSBC.

Bim studied at Eton College and Oxford University, where he was Vice President of the Oxford Union and played football for the University. These experiences changed his life, and consequently he is passionate about ensuring that everyone has access to a fantastic education and greater opportunities. He was a primary school governor for several years and has always supported (and volunteered for) charities that focus on helping people return to work.

Bim is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a member of the Ditchley Foundation. As a very keen sportsman, he supports Northampton Saints Rugby Union Club and Arsenal FC.

Professor Sharon Collard

PROFESSOR SHARON COLLARD

Sharon Collard’s background is social policy. She has conducted extensive research on financial inclusion, consumer credit use and problem debt, and financial capability. She is Research Director and Professor of Personal Finance at the University of Bristol’s Personal Finance Research Centre. The Centre’s recent work includes a study to update the Poverty Premium faced by low-income households; a programme of work on how lenders and debt collection firms identify and treat consumers in vulnerable circumstances; and work with the Money Advice Service on improving the debt solutions landscape.

Sharon is also a member of the Financial Services Consumer Panel, an independent statutory body that represents the interests of consumers in the development of policy for the regulation of financial services.

John Godfrey

JOHN GODFREY

John is Corporate Affairs Director at Legal & General. Educated at Lochaber High School, and Oxford University, he has worked in the City of London for over thirty years, whilst also serving as Special Adviser to Douglas Hurd as Home Secretary and in 2016-17 as Head of the Prime Ministers’ Policy Unit. He is involved with a number of think tanks and other institutions active in domestic policy.

Dame Mary Marsh

DAME MARY MARSH

Dame Mary has been a member of the Financial Inclusion Commission from soon after it started in 2014. She is Chair of Trustees, at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and also a non-executive director of HSBC Bank plc, a member of the Governing Body at London Business School, a Director on the board of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), a Trustee of Teach First and a Patron of the EY Foundation. In the earlier stages of her life journey she was a teacher, including as a deputy head and then headteacher of two comprehensive schools. She was Chief Executive of the NSPCC from 2000 – 08. After this she went on to be the Founding Director of Clore Social Leadership until 2015.

Laurie Edmans CBE

LAURIE EDMANS CBE

Laurie has spent a lifetime in pensions, investment and retirement related areas. He is a non-executive director of NOW Pensions Limited, a member of the Independent Governance  Committee of Zurich UK, and chairs B Different, a financial services research agency. He is a Commissioner of the Financial Inclusion Commission, and a member of advisory boards of Lincoln Pensions and Fairer Finance.

He has been a trustee of the Quest School for autistic children for 15 years and is a member of the ‘Employ Autism’ Development Board. established by Ambitious About Autism.

A founder director of NEST, of the Pensions Regulator and of the Money Advice Service, he chaired Marine and General Mutual Assurance and the ABI’s pensions and savings committee. During his executive career he was corporate development director of AEGON UK and deputy chief executive of National Provident Institution. He was appointed CBE for services to pensions reform in 2006.  He is a fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute and of the Pensions Management Institute.

Seema Malhotra MP

SEEMA MALHOTRA MP

Seema Malhotra is the Labour and Cooperative Member of Parliament for Feltham and Heston and Shadow Minister for Employment. Her primary policy interests are in the economy, business, and equalities. She has been a member of the influential House of Commons Select Committee on Exiting the European Union and its successor from 2016-2020.

Seema served as Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 2015-2016. She founded and chairs a local charity Hounslow’s Promise focussed on education attainment, social mobility and employability. From 2014-2015, she served as Shadow Home Office Minister for Preventing Violence against Women and Girls where she led on aspects of the Serious Crime Bill for Labour. Seema also chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Assistive Technology APPG Entrepreneurship and APPG on Mortgage Prisoners. Prior to entering Parliament, Seema was a business and public service adviser working with the video game and film industries. She has over ten years’ experience with leading firms Accenture and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. She is on the Executive of the Fabian Society, a national think tank, and is the Founder and President of the Fabian Women’s Network.

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