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MAS appoints DWP private pensions director as chief exec

by Michelle Abrego on Nov 23, 2012 at 09:54

MAS appoints DWP private pensions director as chief exec

The Money Advice Service (MAS) has announced the appointment of Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) director Caroline Rookes as its new chief executive.

Rookes’ salary will be £140,000, compared to her predecessor Tony Hobman whose overall pay package was £350,000.

Rookes was appointed by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and approved by the Treasury. She will take up the position in the New Year.

As director of private pensions at the DWP, Rookes has overseen the introduction of auto-enrolment and the launch of Nest.

MAS chairman Gerard Lemos said: ‘I am delighted that we have found someone of such calibre and experience as Caroline. She really understands people’s money needs.

‘The board was highly impressed with her leadership skills, strategic thought, operational good sense and stakeholder management expertise. On its behalf I thoroughly look forward to working with her in the next phase of making the service even more relevant to people’s needs.’

The appointment comes after scrutiny from both the regulator and the Treasury Select Committee on the accountability of the MAS.

In October, it was revealed the FSA board would supervise the process of the recruitment of the new MAS head following the departure of Hobman in July.

Financial Conduct Authority chairman designate John Griffith-Jones said: ‘Caroline has highly relevant experience dealing with and understanding people’s financial needs. 

‘I am sure she will help give the service a continuing strong focus on helping people to understand financial matters, thereby enhancing their ability to manage better their own affairs.’

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20 comments so far. Why not have your say?


Nov 23, 2012 at 10:01

Toot Toot!!

Is that another gravy train??

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Philip Bray

Nov 23, 2012 at 10:11


There's a vacancy for a Personal Pensions Director come up at DWP. Get your applications in before the close of play yesterday.

Oh sorry, you're over-qualified because you know something about pensions!

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David Craik

Nov 23, 2012 at 10:19


No, it has been reduced to a gravy 'carriage'. A step in the right direction! Hopefully, they will now cut the rest of Canary Wharf by a similar 60%

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One is afraid

Nov 23, 2012 at 10:27

"MAS chairman Gerard Lemos said: ‘I am delighted that we have found someone of such calibre and experience as Caroline. She really understands people’s money needs"

Wow, so why keep all the other employees then? Has the effectiveness (or otherwise) of the MAS offering been compromised over the last 2 months without a Chief Exec. Or could it be that nobody,apart from the board has really noticed.

Once again I will fume when writing the cheque for the 'Free Service'

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Nov 23, 2012 at 10:31

I am sure Ms Rookes is a sweet, efficient person who has sucessfully left the DWP before the Auto-Enrolment sh**t hits the fan. When even on this first phase the level of opt outs is staggering, particularly amongst the young armend with smartphones.

Once again the FSA appoints civil servants with little experiance of the productive world. This working background should be a disadvantage to an applicant, not a plus point. Civil servants have to blatantly steal before any career harm comes to them, government guaranteed pay, strong unions, index linked pensions and low cost insurance, hardly a hardship life.

The MAS's remit is to help people in debt to have a more structured approach, and give basic education to individuals to understand needs for saving and retirement funding as well as some basic advice over protection. A civil servant is less likley to have experienced any of these conditions than any member of society.

They should have appointed an experienced IFA with good leadership skills, but the others at the FSA would not wish this as they would not have wanted their lack of leadership, work ethic and broad outlook exposed.

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Nov 23, 2012 at 10:34

How's about a full overhall of all regulatory salaries as they certainly appear to be on the high side. In the current world of austerity isn't it about time they lead by example. Surely this would help drive down costs for the consumer.

Watch out for those famous low flying pigs!

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One is afraid

Nov 23, 2012 at 10:39


Right On!!

See you in the MAS interview pit when this one has Size 10 applied to derriere.

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JM Keynes

Nov 23, 2012 at 10:44

A definite bandwagon forming here!

"As director of private pensions at the DWP, Rookes has overseen the introduction of auto-enrolment and the launch of Nest. "

Sounds perfect for the job!

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Bob Donaldson

Nov 23, 2012 at 11:10

It might have been good if they had looked at recruiting someone from the advisory sector rather than another lifetime civil servant.

I think that most advisors understand the publics requirement for financial advice.

I would love to have seen the list of candidates that applied. However this is almost another inhouse approved candidate.

The problem with much of the regulatory authorities and associated bodies is that how many of them actually have experience of dealing with the public.

Best of luck to her time for me is getting shorter by the day so I can't be bothered to stick my head above the parapet anymore.

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Nov 23, 2012 at 12:34

@ Michelle Abrigo

We are not comparing apples with apples. Before we all start celebrating can you please confirm the cost of the overall pay package applicable? Please include all benefits and in particular Pensions and opportunity for bonus etc

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Duncan Carter 2

Nov 23, 2012 at 12:51

I often think that the main criteria for selection is that the successful candidate has the ability to navigate around the archaic processes operated by the civil service etc, without questioning any of the waste that evidently arises.

I know nothing about this lady and it's not personal but would Richard Branson or even Alan Sugar have recruited her?

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lee rawding

Nov 23, 2012 at 13:54

@Duncan Carter

I've seen some of the muppets Lord Sugar employs and would suggest that's not a good benchmark ;)

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Fabulous Salaries Association

Nov 23, 2012 at 14:11

@lee rawding

On the contrary, I think using the muppets as a benchmark is a great idea.

It will give the employees of the FSA/FCA and MAS something to aim for.

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Man of Kent

Nov 23, 2012 at 14:52

To get an idea of what goes on in the DWP (this is far more worrying than the Olympic Deliverance Committee spoof of recent memory, as it's real), have a look at the correspondence on this link. To be fair, it does look like Caroline Rookes isn't afraid to rattle some cages, although whether that's enough in its own right is questionable.


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John Smyth 3

Nov 23, 2012 at 14:53

Just taken a look at her on Linkede.

Sorry to say this but her degree course in English and Economics at Lancaster was from 1972 to 1975 surely it is too long ago to be of any value now. she should have Level 4 and no credits for her degree as lots of older IFAs have been told about various of their qualifications.

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Simon Booth

Nov 23, 2012 at 15:16

No need to have a go at her now, I feel.

We will have to judge her by her results.

If she can reduce the overall cost of the service by the 60% that they have saved on her salary then it will be a start in the right direction for this white elephant of an organisation.

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Ian Lees

Nov 23, 2012 at 16:00

Simon - redcing the service by 60% will be a dwaddle - when the death of advice comes in at 31 Dec 2012 - and the IFA dissapear like snow off a fence !

Costs should go down by 60% toooo as the number of advisers and the amounts of advice are destroyed - so that only the few will be able to afford advice - leaving the many without service or advice. Just llok how much business has been lost in the last few years .

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Ian Lees

Nov 23, 2012 at 16:10

Salaries - are they paid " salaries " at the Financial Scuppering Authority ?

Bit of a drop in income - but supports those who feel women should be paid the same as men e.g £ 350,000 versus £ 140,000 (plus auto enrolment , given she designed it) - we must assume ? I thought Brian Rix turned out magnificent farces - but this just gets better and better. No commitment no authority no regulation and more people on the merry go round of salaries from unemplyed bankers and unemployed civil servants.

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Simon Booth

Nov 23, 2012 at 16:11

Agreed! Have just done another post about that.

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Nov 23, 2012 at 16:51

@ Ian Lees

...............and no accountability.

Toot Toot!!

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