Zoe Alexander, Director of Strategy and Corporate Affairs, NEST (National Employment Savings Trust), UK

The National Employment Savings Trust is a defined contribution workplace pension scheme in the United Kingdom. It was set up to facilitate automatic enrolment by the UK government.

Zoe’s role spans long term organisational strategy, public affairs and Nest’s relationship with Government.

Before joining NEST, Zoe was a civil servant for over a decade, in a variety of roles. She was Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions during the passage of the legislation that established automatic enrolment; wrote the funding strategy that helped set up NEST; and led the Treasury programme that set up the national pensions guidance service, Pension Wise.

Zoe chairs the Pensions & Lifetime Savings Association’s Master Trust Committee, the primary voice of the Master Trust Sector in the UK. She has acted as an advisor to the charity Money and Mental Health and is a trustee and non-executive director of the homelessness charity Emmaus SLC.

Maeve McCleane, Chief People Officer & Board Executive, Lidl Ireland and Northern Ireland

 Maeve joined Lidl in 2005 as a Trainee District Manager. She progressed quickly and took over as Personnel Manager in 2006, with responsibility for payroll & personnel administration. From 2008, Lidl began to develop a holistic HR function after having been very focused on the administration side. With the establishment of programmes like the Graduate Programme and Feed Your Mind Retail Training Programme, Lidl has quickly established the business as leaders in training and development of its team members.

In 2013 Maeve moved to Lidl’s international headquarters in Germany – initially responsible for employer brand and engagement. She gained valuable experience working with HR colleagues across 30 countries developing and implementing Lidl’s global HR strategy.

Maeve returned to Ireland in 2016 to take up the reigns as first Chief People Officer where she has headed up several industry-leading initiatives in the retail sector. These include the development of employee benefits packages and development programmes which are designed with employee’s life cycle in mind including compassionate leave for miscarriage and early pregnancy loss, menopause supports, support for employees undergoing fertility treatment, the removal of mandatory retirement and becoming the first retailer to commit to paying the Living Wage in 2015.

Rob Meaney, Principal and Senior Investment Consultant, Mercer

Rob advises institutional clients on the full range of investment consulting issues. He provides strategic advice to a large portfolio of national and multi-national clients including DB and DC pension schemes as well as working closely with a number of charities and endowments. He has a keen interest in sustainable investment, leading the Mercer Ireland team and sits on the Society of Actuaries’ Sustainability and Climate Change Steering Group. He is also a member of the Society’s Finance and Investment Committee. Rob is a qualified actuary and CFA charterholder.

Sarah-Jane Larkin – Director General – Irish Venture Capital Association (IVCA)

Sarah-Jane has been Director General of the IVCA since Jan 2018. The IVCA is the representative body for venture capital and private equity firms on the island of Ireland. Its full members are the venture capital and private equity firms that provide equity funding to growing unquoted companies.

Sarah-Jane was formerly commercial director of MSD and Johnson & Johnson Medical. She has worked at director level in the healthcare and medical device sectors for over a decade for organisations including J&J, Sisk Healthcare and the Irish Medical & Surgical Trade Association.

A graduate of UCD, she holds an MBA from the Smurfit Business School.

Pete Lunn, Founder & Head of Behavioural Research Unit (BRU), Economic & Social Research Institute

A behavioural economist, Pete holds degrees in Philosophy & Psychology, Neuroscience and Economics. His primary research interest is how people make judgements and decisions that affect environmental, financial and health outcomes, especially when facing complex systems and trade-offs.

Beginning in 2012, Pete built a team of behavioural scientists at the ESRI that specialises in designing and conducting laboratory, online and field experiments to inform policy. The BRU team has since undertaken research for many government departments and state agencies and has worked internationally with the OECD and the European Commission. Recent studies include investigations into how improving people’s understanding of climate change affects their willingness to support pro-climate policies, how better food labelling alters people’s food choices and how simplified financial communications can increase household savings.

Between 2020 and 2022, much of Pete’s work concerned the COVID-19 pandemic. The BRU worked with the Department of the Taoiseach to develop the Social Activity Measure (SAM) and undertook multiple experimental studies for the Department of Health to provide behavioural evidence to support public health guidance. Pete is a member of the government’s COVID-19 Advisory Group.

Pete’s research has been published in international journals in public health, economics, psychology, finance, environmental science and consumer research. However, as a former BBC journalist, he believes strongly in science communication and is a regular contributor to Irish and international television, radio, newspapers and podcasts.

Pete is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Economics at Trinity College Dublin (TCD). He teaches behavioural economics at both TCD and University College Dublin (UCD). Pete also regularly provides training in behavioural economics and behavioural science to public servants. 

Rose Leonard, Head of Corporate Distribution and CRM, Zurich

Rose has extensive experience of working with employers and trustees on the design and implementation of their group pension schemes and the ongoing service delivery and communication of employee benefits. She is former President and a fellow of the Irish Institute of Pensions Management (IIPM). Rose holds a MSc in Business and a Postgraduate Diploma in Corporate Governance from UCD Smurfit School. Rose is a director of Zurich’s Master Trust.

Graham Fox, Head of Distribution, Amundi Ireland

Graham is responsible for managing and developing Amundi Ireland’s relationships with both its institutional and intermediary client base. Before joining Amundi, Graham was Head of Broker Investment Sales with Irish Life for over thirteen years and Head of Distribution for State Street Global Advisors where he was responsible for developing both companies Irish retail businesses. Graham holds a Commerce degree from University College Dublin and a master’s in business studies from the Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. He is also the current chair of the Distribution Committee for the Irish Association of Investment Managers and previous chair of the associations Responsible Investing Committee.

Ivan Yates, Broadcaster

Ivan is one of the country’s leading broadcasters, presenting the daily drive time programme The Hard Shoulder on Newstalk Radio which has become the top-rated independent listened-to show in the country. He also co-presents a leading current affairs television program, The Tonight Show, on Virgin Media One.

Ivan has had unique life experience in politics, business and media. A former government minister and Wexford TD for more than 20 years; an entrepreneur who founded and developed Celtic Bookmakers to employ 400 people, with €200 million turnover.

In 2014 he published his best-selling autobiography, Full On with acclaimed reviews. He resides in Dublin and Enniscorthy, is married to Deirdre with 4 adult children.

His original forthright style of entertaining punditry and analysis on the full range of current affairs and sport has made him a much sought after motivational public speaker at corporate and formal events. He also acts as a versatile conference facilitator/moderator, MC with a flair for asking the questions that need answering. Ivan is a memorable and compelling after-dinner speaker.

Joe Creegan, Head of Corporate Life & Pensions, Zurich

Joe joined Zurich in 1992 and has extensive experience of the Employee Benefits market. Joe heads up Zurich’s Corporate Life & Pensions business in Ireland and has responsibility for bringing to market high quality, innovative Employee Benefit solutions that are valued by both employers and employees. Joe is an Associate of the Irish Tax Institute, a Fellow of the Irish Institute of Pension Management and holds a Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning from University College Dublin. Joe is a trustee and holds a professional trustee QPT (IIPM) qualification.

Aedín O’Leary, Independent Director, Investment & ESG Consultant

Aedín has over 25 years’ experience in the asset management and financial services industry. She consults on manager selection, formulation and application of ethical investment policies and on strategies in relation to the launch and distribution of funds. Aedín is a B.Comm graduate, former tax consultant and a qualified financial advisor.
She is co-f ounder of the Green Team Network https://www.greenteamnetwork.ie/, an initiative which devises collaborative solutions for the Irish funds industry to play its part in tackling climate change. She advises, speaks and writes on a range of ESG and sustainability topics and has launched the ESG Digest through her website https://tripleline.ie/esg-digest/
Aedín is a member of the ESG Working Group at the Irish Fund Directors Association. She also serves as non-executive director on the boards of the Irish Youth Foundation and Charities Institute Ireland.

Stuart Murphy, Co-Head of DC, LGIM

Stuart is Co-Head of DC for LGIM’s DC business and also a Scheme Strategist for the Legal & General Mastertrust. His role includes responsibility for defining and delivering LGIM’s DC strategy. This includes all elements of DC across new business, client management, Mastertrust and IGC. Stuart has been with Legal & General for over 20 years fulfilling a number of roles within the bundled DC business.

Paul Price, Founder of Haven Green Capital Partners; Chair of IAIM; former Global Head of Sales and Distribution, Morgan Stanley Investment Management and former CEO, Morgan Stanley Investment Management Ireland

Paul is the founder and CEO of Haven Green Capital Partners with 37 years’ experience in the finance industry. He was formerly Global Head of Sales and Distribution for Morgan Stanley Investment Management and the former CEO of Morgan Stanley Investment Management Ireland. Prior to Morgan Stanley, Paul was Global Head of Distribution for Pioneer and has held senior positions for MFS, Lombard Odier and Bank of Ireland Asset Management.