First Actuarial's Hilary Salt announces retirement

05 March 2024 Consultancy.uk 3 min. read

Hilary Salt, a founding partner of First Actuarial, has announced her retirement. The move will see her draw to a close a career spanning more than four decades in the pensions sector. 

Speaking on her decision, Salt commented, “I’m really sorry to leave behind lots of fantastic clients and colleagues. And I will miss them. But I do feel that the time is right for me. The team here has developed to a level where they can carry on without me.”

The news comes as First Actuarial approaches its twentieth anniversary in business – a journey which Salt has been at the heart of from the very beginning. With her career starting in 1981 at Refuge Assurance in Manchester, where she began her training as an actuary she then spent two years at Willis Towers Watson, and a following decade setting up and running her own pensions training and advice consultancy. In 2002, she became a partner at Hazell Carr, before again striking out to build a new firm.

In 2004, Salt became one of nine founders of First Actuarial. The company recently posted an annual turnover of over £33 million. Bolstered by a thriving team of new experts, Salt subsequently feels that she is leaving the firm in a good place.

“Throughout the firm’s history, we’ve prioritised training and development,” she continued. “Right now, we’re preparing to welcome our first intake of actuarial apprentices, and that’s something to be proud of. In our Manchester office, I’m leaving behind a great team of people, led by three partners. I’ve seen them all develop into accomplished professionals who now work alongside the impressive individuals we’ve appointed as our client base continues to grow. I’ve no doubt that First Actuarial will go from strength to strength. The services we provide and the value that underpin those services are in great demand.”

However, there are still some aspects of her work which she feels are unfinished. Salt has played an instrumental role in a number of national initiatives, including The Pensions Regulator’s funding industry working group. And she can justifiably claim to have transformed pensions knowledge in the trade union movement – at a time when, with the loss of trade union power, “negotiations on pensions have become rare, and yet they’ve never been more necessary”.

However, with millions of workers in minimum auto-enrolment schemes in particular, pensions should be “near the top of the bargaining agenda.” To that end, she regrets that she will not have seen the completion of the Royal Mail CDC scheme up before her my retirement.

“CDC is my most important legacy,” she explained. “First Actuarial’s Derek Benstead and I teamed up with the Communication Workers Union, and Royal Mail and its advisers to devise a fundamentally new type of pension for the UK. It’s our best hope of closing the generation gap in pensions.”

Looking ahead to life after her career, however, Salt is determined to continue making a difference. In particular, she hopes to continue improving the lives of others via a very different medium.

She concluded, “Throughout my pensions career, I’ve worked hard to improve the lives of ordinary working people. I intend to continue to do that in the wider world by playing an active role in the forthcoming general election.”