LVFeb 28 2022

LV adds two directors to board following departures

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LV adds two directors to board following departures

Liverpool Victoria has added two non-executive directors to its board following the exit of the mutual’s chairperson and other board members in recent months.

The new joiners, Suzy Neubert and Natalie Ceeney, carry years of experience from J O Hambro Capital Management and the Financial Ombudsman Service, respectively.

Neubert also currently holds directorships on the boards of Witan Investment Trust, Jupiter Fund Management and ISIO - the pensions and actuarial firm.

Subject to regulatory approval, both incoming directors will start March 1. They will replace David Barral, Alison Hutchinson and Luke Savage, who all confirmed their intention to step down earlier this year.

Neubert and Ceeney were already drafted in to join the new board following a proposed acquisition by private equity firm Bain Capital, which LV later failed to get approval for from members.

Tim Harris was also drafted into the new board, but he was not in the announcement today (February 28). He was Royal London’s deputy group chief executive until June 2019 before joining Direct Line as chief financial officer.

Earlier this month, LV confirmed merger talks with Royal London. But just two days later, the mutual said a merger “would not be in the best interests of LV members”.

Later this month, LV’s interim chairman, Seamus Creedon, said the business could continue as an "independent" brand, suggesting a takeover or merger deal is no longer on the cards.

Both Ceeney and Neubert said they were looking forward to growing LV as a “sustainable mutual insurer” and building “a stronger footing” for its members.

"This is an exciting time for LV and an opportunity to put the company on a stronger footing for the benefit of our members, employees and our wider communities. It's a story of which I will be proud to play a part,” said Neubert.

Creedon, whose first task was to refresh LV’s board, officially took over from former chairperson, Alan Cook, today. He said the process to recruit a permanent chairperson was underway.

“We are seeking an established chair with extensive commercial and technical knowledge of life insurance or wider financial services and experience of diverse business models,” he said.

The mutual has also appointed new chief financial, operating, and risk officers, and “repositioned” its business to focus on mass affluent customers - a market it believes is underserved.

Despite a 2020 strategic review which found LV to be “sub-scale” and in need of external capital, over the past 18 months the mutual has become “appropriately capitalised and [is] trading well”, according to Creedon.

Former chairperson Cook had cited an IT improvements bill as big as £100mn. But Clive Bolton, LV’s managing director of protection, savings and retirement, has since clarified the mutual has made a big saving by not pursuing its own platform.

LV is now focusing on the distribution of its Smoothed Managed Funds range, which Bolton has suggested are key to LV’s turnaround.

Earlier this month, it announced a partnership with Embark which will see advisers and their clients who use LV gain access to Embark’s retirement-focused platform via an LV-branded service.