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Non-Executive Members Biographies

Gillian Jane Thompson OBE

Gillian thompson Bio Pic 1Deep experience in delivering the policies of the Scottish Government including development of devolved and reserved policies, leading legislative and organisational change, project and programme management, corporate and financial accountability, influencing and negotiation.  Full working knowledge and experience of scottish political scene.  Well regarded reputation for delivering organisational strategy and expertise in working at Board level as chair and member. First woman Accountant in Bankruptcy and Agency Chief Executive (2002-09).

Current Activities - Chair, Management Advisory Board, Scottish Public Pensions Agency.  The Judicial Complaints Reviewer.  Trustee and Non-Executive Director, Stepchange Debt Charity.  Advisor to Director Scotland, Tomorrow's People, a UK charity which sources work placements for 16-24 year olds from deprived areas. Active interest in shared services in central government public bodies, customer service, and dispute resolution.  Public Speaking and Conference Chairing.

Previously - Non-Executive Director of Registry Trust Ltd, a London based UK not-for-profit company providing services for the Ministry of Justice; Deputy Chair of English Speaking Union Scotland; Independent Assessor Public Appointments (Justice); Co-opted Non-Executive Director, Audit and Risk Management Committee of Scottish Natural Heritage; Trustee, Stepchange Debt Charity Scotland.

Liz Holmes

Liz Holmes Bio 1Liz Holmes joined the Scottish Public Pensions Agency's Audit and Risk Committee in April 2016, and became a member of the Management Advisory Board in April 2017.  Liz has over 30 years experience in central government, including the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales, principally as Head of Internal Audit for the Forestry Commission providing assurance on governance and risk management across a wide range of business activities, both commercial and corporate, and involving significant organisational change.

Liz also has experience at management level in Finance, Corporate Planning and HR.  Professionally, Liz was previously Secretary of the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors Scottish District Committee, and sat on the UK panel leading to the Institute's charter status award.  Liz is an active volunteer supporter of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, and is currently Treasurer for both her local lifeboat station and its fundraising committee.

Stuart Smith

Stuart Smith BioAfter qualifying as an accountant with Aberdeen City Council, Stuart held various senior financial and audit positions in local government and in the financial services sector.  Stuart established and managed the Internal Audit Department of TSB (in Scotland), and the Financial Advisory Services Division for TSB (Scotland).  As Project Lead for the Scottish Equitable (Aegon) he was responsible for the establishment of various pension and investment companies in the UK and Europe.  Accordingly, Stuart has a good understanding of pensions, joint ventures and compliance.

Stuart was chair of an NHS Healthcare Trust, a Non-Executive Director with NHS Lothian and NHS 24, and, until 31 March 2017, a Non-Executive Director with the Scottish Government.  Stuart is also a Non-Executive Director with the Crown Office.  As part of a small team, Stuart is currently conducting a review of corporate government arrangements within the Scottish Government.

Sheena Cowan

Sheena Cowan is a Pensions Manager who brings a breadth of experience from an employee benefits consultancy role and several in-house roles managing large, complex defined benefit and defined contribution schemes.

Proven experience of:  outsourcing administration arrangements, supporting employers, trustees and members through design and operational changes and serving as Scheme Secretary and technical consultant to scheme sponsors and trustee boards.

Current Activities - Member of:  Management Advisory Board and the Audit and Risk Committee, Scottish Public Pensions Agency.  Pensions Manager to the Trustees of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Group Pension Fund (defined benefit), and the RBS defined contribution scheme. Responsible for:  administration oversight, governance and budget management. Lead on the outsourcing of the administration for the DB and DC schemes to third parties, managing the transition risks and engaging with members through changes.

Design and embed the benefits delivering operating model for the UK DB and DC schemes with Trustees, Bank and third party administrators with members' interests at the heart of this model.

Provide expert technical, operational and governance support to trustee bodies to ensure scheme benefits are delivered compliantly, efficiently, without risk and in a way that delivers a first class member experience.

Previously - July 2010 - February 2016, Standard Life, Pensions and Benefits Manager. Pensions:  Governance and management of the defined benefit and defined contribution pension schemes for Standard Life's employees. Focus on strategic design changes, risk management, governance and employee engagement.

2005 - June 2010, Scottish Power Limited, Pensions & Reward Manager.  Secretary to:  Trustee Boards, Sub-committees and Governance Manager of two defined benefit pension schemes. Chair of Governance & Management Committee of DC plan.

January 1987 - July 2005, Mercer Limited, Benefits Consultant.  Consultancy:  Advising Trustee and Corporate clients on design, governance, delivery and communication of employee pensions, ancillary benefits and flexible and voluntary benefit programmes.

Link to Scottish Government Website