Tom Austin joins Mercer covenant advisory team

26 January 2023 2 min. read
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Mercer has announced Tom Austin has been appointed Director of the firm’s UK covenant advisory team. He joins the group as it looks to help clients navigate a number of major challenges in the year ahead.

Commenting on his appointment, Tom Austin said, “Employer covenant is increasingly at the top of the defined benefit pension’s agenda. With an uncertain macroeconomic outlook and further legislative changes coming in 2023, I look forward to working with Mercer’s excellent team.”

A pension covenant – as defined by the Pensions Regulator – is the employer's legal obligation and financial ability to support their defined benefit scheme now and in the future. This makes a corporate covenant critical to most pension plans, and significant for regulators, members and pension plan sponsors, when it comes to scheme valuations and mergers and acquisitions, as well as business as usual.

Tom Austin, Director, Mercer

Mercer’s more-than 25,000 employees are based in 43 countries and the firm operates in 130 countries. Its UK covenant advisory team works with trustees to help them gain a sound understanding of covenant operations, to support valuations, to provide a good basis for negotiations with the employer, and to satisfy regulator expectations.

Austin becomes a Director in its growing UK covenant advisory team headed by Partner, Darren Masters. The new hire is in addition to Kriti Chandnani and Joe Hornsby, Adam D’Souza, Brandy Mukasa and Michael Fenton who all joined in 2022 – taking the total size of the team to 15, covering the whole of the UK.

A qualified accountant with almost two decades of professional services experience, Austin started his career at KPMG, and moved to Interpath Advisory after it became independent from the Big Four firm. Austin’s clients have ranged in size from small owner managed businesses where scheme assets are less than £10 million, to multi-national listed groups with multi-employer schemes that have assets of more than £10 billion.

According to Andrew Ward, Partner and Risk Transfer and DB Journey Planning Leader with Mercer, Austin’s credential will bring “a wide range of experience at an exciting time” for the business, and the covenant sector. Austen will particularly help the covenant advisory team deliver advice to both pension scheme trustees and corporate sponsors, across the breadth of Mercer’s client base and with new opportunities.

Ward added, “This is a further step in developing Mercer’s leading role in the covenant advisory market. Understanding covenant is of crucial importance in scheme valuations, in M&A and more recently in situations previously considered as business as usual. Tom’s knowledge and approach will significantly expand our team’s capabilities, and help clients successfully navigate these issues.”