UK – The Society of Pension Consultants has named Law Debenture’s Mark Ashworth to take over as president from Robert Birmingham.

The body, which represents most UK pension providers and advisers, said Ashworth would succeed Birmingham when he completes his two-year term of office on May 31.

Ashworth, a director of the Law Debenture Pension Trust Corp., said: “I am proud to have been invited to take on this role for the SPC.

“The SPC, through its members and staff, is making a very valuable contribution to the challenging debate about the future of pensions. I am looking forward to representing the SPC as that debate continues.

“There is a great deal of good in the current system, which we should strive to preserve or re-invigorate. We must also be realistic about how far legislation can provide good pension outcomes.

“There are too many cases where well intentioned legislation has mainly resulted in disincentives to employer involvement in pensions.

“My aim is that the SPC should continue to offer not only constructive criticism but also constructive suggestions."

Elsewhere, David Pitt-Watson, chief executive of Hermes Focus Asset Management and Hermes Pensions Management board member, is to step down from both roles to cut his day-to-day.

Pitt-Watson, who is nearly 50, will continue in his chief executive role until a replacement has been appointed. According to a Hermes spokesperson, they are currently looking internally but could also look externally.

Pitt-Watson will remain a non-executive director of HFAM and chairman of Hermes’ Equity Ownership Service (EOS).

Once a successor has been named, he will pursue “other personal and professional interests” on a part-time basis. These include the completion of a book on ownership and corporate governance due to be published at the end of the year.

Hermes chief executive Mark Anson said: “I am sorry to see David step down as CEO of the Focus Funds, which have shown strong performance over the years under his stewardship.