UK - Alan Pickering, a partner at Watson Wyatt and a long-standing adviser to pension fund trustees, is leaving the firm at the end of the year to switch sides and becoming a trustee as well as chairman of Bestrustees.

Pickering is leaving Watson Wyatt in January 2009 and will succeed Charles Woodward as chairman of Bestrrustees - a role which will also see him become an independent trustee on several pension fund boards.

He is a well-known figure in the pensions industry, having worked in the pensions arena for over 30 years, and held several high-profile roles in both a consultancy capacity and as an industry voice for UK and European pension funds.

Among his many duties and accolades over the years, he is most known as the author of the UK's Pickering report in July 2002, which made a series of recommendations to the government on pensions simplification, and was chairman of the European Federation for Retirement Provision (EFRP) between 2001 and 2004.

He was also presented with a gold award at the IPE Awards in 2004 for his outstanding contribution to pensions - a honour voted for by readers of IPE - and then became non-executive director of The Pensions Regulator in 2005.

This latest move is a significant change for Pickering, he acknowledges, as he has spent 16 years at Watson Wyatt.

"Leaving a good job, even of your own volition, is always somewhat daunting," said Pickering.

"However, it's time for a fresh challenge. I have been advising trustees for most of my career so it's exciting that I'm about to become one. It must be every coach's dream to leave the touchline and join the team, so for me, this is a dream come true."

He continued: "I have enjoyed my 16 years with Watson Wyatt. Back in 1992, giving me a job was a bold move on the firm's part since I was by no means a chip off their old block. Watson Wyatt has given me opportunities that were beyond my wildest dreams. I shall forever cherish fond memories of colleagues and clients alike. Everyone has been kindness itself, particularly my long-standing confidant, Jenny Davie."

Bestrustees has managed to encourage some big names to join the firm over the years, as Nick Fitzpatrick, previously senior consultant at Hewitt Associates before retiring, arrived in 2006 as an associate and Richard Stroud, former chief executive of The Pensions Trust and pension fund manager of The British Printing Corporation, also joined the firm in July this year.

If you have any comments you would like to add to this or any other story, contact Julie Henderson on + 44 (0)20 7261 4602 or email