SPS Conferences is advised by a Committee of pension fund representatives.

The purpose of the Advisory Committee is to help the Executive improve the quality of SPS conferences and to make them as relevant as possible for pension fund managers and trustees.

Advisory Committee


David Bennett-Rees

Independent Advisor, Investment Committee

Royal British Legion

Full bio


Trevor Castledine

Deputy CIO and Head of Credit Investment


Full bio


James Clerkin

Pensions Manager

Medical Research Council

Full bio


Robert Jurkowski

Pensions Investment Manager

BOC Pensions Ltd

Full bio


Eleanor Lawther

Manager, External Funds

BAE Systems Pension Funds Investment Management

Full bio


Rita Powell

Independent Trustee and Scheme Secretary

Inside Pensions

Full bio


Markus Schaen

Senior Fund Manager


Full bio


Robin Smith

Group Head of Pension Funding & Investment

Rio Tinto

Full bio


David Bennett-Rees  Trustee – SAUL Trustee Company

David is currently Chairman of the Freemasons Pension Scheme and has now joined the Finance Committee of the Royal British Legion, which manages the investments and oversees the pension schemes of the charity. He has recently retired as an Independent Director of the Corporate Trustee of SAUL (Superannuation Arrangements of the University of London). Following his Mathematics degree at Oxford University, David taught Maths before joining Colonial Mutual Life where he qualified as an Actuary. He then spent 15 years as a partner working for Galloway & Pearson, W I Carr and Buck Patterson Consultants as a consulting actuary specialising in investments and was also a member of the Stock Exchange. For 10 years he was Head of Pensions Services and in-house Actuary at London Transport. Since then, he has been working as an Independent Pensions / Investment Consultant and chairing pension training courses for the ACT and NAPF. David co-wrote the Institute of Actuaries investment textbook. He regularly speaks at specialised Investment and Pensions conferences across Europe.

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Trevor Castledine  Deputy CIO and Head of Credit Investment - LPP

Trevor is Deputy CIO and Head of Credit at Local Pensions Partnership. LPP was created in 2016 as part of the pooling initiative between LPFA and Lancashire County Pension Fund, which Trevor joined in 2012 after 20 years working in the City, specialising in structured credit, regulatory capital and risk management. Trevor was responsible for designing and implementing LCPF's widely recognised £1.8bn credit strategy and played a key role in designing the structure for the pooling of assets between LCPF and LPFA.  As well as managing the larger Credit pool, he is currently responsible for leading the Investment transformation project at LPP, bringing inherited assets together in various different pooling structures, pooling purchasing power for future investments and and bringing significant asset management in-house. Trevor qualified as a Chartered Accountant in the tax department of Arthur Andersen and has a Masters Degree in Management Studies from Queens' College, Cambridge.

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James Clerkin  Pensions Manager – Medical Research Council

Jim is the pensions manager and secretary to the trustees of the MRC pension scheme, positions he has held since October 2004. In a career spanning over 20 years in the pensions industry, Jim has worked previously for AMP, Alexander Clay & Partners, Philips Electronics, NatWest and RBS. He is a Fellow of the CII, a Fellow of the PMI and holder of the Diploma in International Employee Benefits. Until recently, Jim was the Chairman of the PMI Southern Group.

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Robert Jurkowski  Pensions Investment Manager – BOC Pensions Ltd

Robert Jurkowski is the Pensions Investment Manager in the UK for BOC, a member of The Linde Group. Robert joined BOC in March of 2010 and is responsible for a portfolio of more than £2.6bn focused on LDI and growth assets. Prior to joining BOC, he worked at the Royal County of Berkshire Pension Fund as Investment Manager. He started his investment career in 1986 as a Fund Manager in New York City. He moved to London in 1993 and spent 14 years in a variety of portfolio management and investment roles with Aon Corporation before joining Berkshire. Robert earned his B.S. in Finance from the Pennsylvania State University and his M.B.A. from the Lubin School of Business in New York City. He is a CFA charterholder and a member of the CFA Society in the UK. Also, Robert serves as a Trustee Director for the defined benefit GIST Limited Pension Scheme in the UK.

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Eleanor Lawther Manager, External Funds – BAE Systems Pension Funds Investment Management

Eleanor joined the in house manager of the pension schemes of BAE Systems in 2010 to monitor and advise the trustees on the selection of equity and fixed income managers.  After graduating from Cambridge with an MA in Economics Eleanor spent the first ten years of her career at Henderson Global Investors, managing UK equity portfolios on behalf of institutional clients.  She then spent five years managing multi asset portfolios on behalf of individuals for a private wealth management business.

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Rita Powell  Independent Trustee and Scheme Secretary – Inside Pensions

Rita is a visionary hands-on leader within the occupational pension’s arena who has spent 28 years delivering pensions change and risk reduction strategies to various organisations including DP World, P&O, Centrica, Chloride Group and Nortel. She believes that healthy regular debate and information sharing between scheme sponsors and trustee boards is necessary and leads to practical strategies that can be implemented to achieve successful commercial outcomes for all stakeholders - members, trustees and sponsors. Rita established her own company Inside Pensions in 2008 to become an independent pension advisor and trustee.

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Markus Schaen  Senior Fund Manager – MN

Markus is Senior Fund Manager Fixed Income for the Dutch fiduciary manager MN and is responsible for the selection and monitoring of MN’s external fixed income managers. Prior to joining MN in 2008, he was Corporate Treasurer of Koninklijke Wegener. At Wegener, he was also a trustee of the company’s pension fund and a member of the fund’s investment committee. In the early part of his career he worked in various international treasury functions and as an auditor with Deloitte. Markus graduated in 1995 from Maastricht University with a degree in economics and business administration. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1997 and as Chartered Treasurer in 2000. Earlier this year, he completed the Pension Executive program at Nyenrode University.

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Robin Smith Group Head of Pension Funding & Investment - Rio Tinto

Robin is Rio Tinto’s Group Head of Pension Funding & Investment, based in the London head office and reporting to the Group Treasurer. He is responsible for ensuring that the Group’s financial risks in relation to pensions are understood and managed effectively with a focus on the Group’s largest pension plans which are situated in Canada, the UK, the US, Switzerland and Australia. He is also responsible to overseeing the financial reporting of pensions and other post-employment benefits under IAS19 for the Group’s financial statements.  Robin and his team work closely with Rio Tinto’s benefits teams around the world. He sits on the investment committees for the Group’s major pension plans and also on the Group’s Global Benefits Committee.

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ESG & Sustainable Investments for Pension Funds

May 10, 2018                                 Le Meridien Piccadilly, London

Inaugural Irish Pension Fund Investors' Conference

June 7, 2018                                  The Westbury, Dublin

Infrastructure & Real Asset Investment Strategies for Pension Funds

June 14, 2018                                 Le Meridien Piccadilly, London

Investment Strategies & Cash Flow Management for Maturing Pension Funds

July 12, 2018                                 Le Meridien Piccadilly, London

Credit & Private Debt Investing for Pension Funds

August 30, 2018                                Le Meridien Piccadilly, London

Alternative & Innovative Investment Strategies for Pension Funds

September 13, 2018                          Le Meridien Piccadilly, London

Investment Insights & Issues for Dutch Pension Funds

September 20, 2018                          Apollo Hotel, Amsterdam

Nordic Institutional Investors' Conference

October 2, 2018                              7A StrandvägenStockholm

26th Annual Property Investing for Pension Funds

October 11, 2018                              Le Meridien Piccadilly, London

Current Investment Issues for Pension Funds

November 8, 2018                            Le Meridien Piccadilly, London

Local Authority Pension Funds' Investment Strategies

November 15, 2018                          Le Meridien Piccadilly, London

Investment Conference for Pension Funds

November 22, 2018                          V&A Marriott, Manchester

Private Equity (& Debt) Investors' Annual Seminar

December 11, 2018                          Le Meridien Piccadilly, London