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Desk in Focus: Pensions Actuarial and Investment Solutions

02 May 2018

by Jessica Williams

In an extraordinary first quarter, the Oliver James Pensions Actuarial and Investment Solutions desk has already filled 12 business-critical roles. Notable placements include a particularly senior appointment within the investment management space – and Q2 is shaping up to produce more of the same.

Following on from a highly successful 2017, Managing Consultant of the desk, Helen Kinloch, plans to surpass her own record-breaking performance, supported by fellow Managing Consultant, Alex George. “We are fastidious about delivering a world-class experience for our clients and candidates in these increasingly technical niches. As a result, pensions actuarial is incredibly busy, with numerous senior roles currently in process. We will also look to build on our presence in the investment management market as demand continues to evolve.” Get to know the talented individuals driving this strategy forward…

Helen Kinloch

Helen, when did you join Oliver James?

I joined Oliver James in February 2015.

Tell us about your background and journey with Oliver James.

I graduated from the University of Warwick in 2014 with a degree in German and French.

After university, I was employed by a large, global recruitment consultancy in London as a Researcher, before moving back to Manchester to join Oliver James. With eight months’ experience, I began my journey here as an Associate Consultant on the Actuarial team. I broke several Oliver James records as an Associate Consultant. By working hard and applying myself I was able to generate many new candidates that the team successfully placed with our clients.

I was promoted to Consultant seven months later, when I started to focus on the pensions actuarial and investment solutions market – the desk which I now lead. This was not one of our target markets previously, so I worked hard to win several clients for the business and generate a new revenue stream within the actuarial discipline. After 12 months in a 360 role, I was promoted to Senior Consultant, and seven months later, in June 2017, I was promoted to Managing Consultant after hitting a pre-determined billing target.

Last year, I beat my external competition by building excellent relationships with my clients and working hard to understand my candidates’ needs. This enabled me to fulfil 36 placements – more than anyone else in the UK business internally at OJ. As a result of this dedication, I won the prestigious ‘OJ UK Permanent Recruiter of the Year’ award in December 2017. It is my proudest moment to date – even more so than graduating from Warwick!

Why OJ?

When considering roles within the financial services recruitment market, there was no doubt that OJ was my first choice. Since joining, my career has thrived and I have progressed to Managing Consultant level within just two years. Importantly, as I have risen through the ranks, I have enjoyed the privilege of recruiting in a prestigious market and learning from some of the most talented recruiters in the UK. What most impressed me about the business was OJ’s dedication to being the most valued recruitment business partner globally, as well as its portfolio of reputable clients, its meritocratic environment and the support you get from the board and senior leaders. I wanted to work in a business which would complement my highly competitive and entrepreneurial spirit, and where I could continue to be best in class.

What disciplines do you cover?

I specialise in pensions actuarial and investment solutions, and have done so for three years. My exceptional knowledge of this space puts me in the best position nationally to advise my clients on recruitment strategy and the candidate market. I offer access to the best talent, while presenting exclusive opportunities to candidates based on their current skillset and experience, long-term career goals and future aspirations.

What level / type of candidates do you place?

We recruit student actuaries through to Scheme Actuary level within the pensions consultancy space, as well as those who are CFA-qualified or part-qualified within the investment management market. These might include LDI Manager, Product Specialist or Fiduciary Manager. They are placed into client businesses ranging from top-tier international consultancies to UK consultancies and reputable asset managers.

What does your future at OJ look like?

The sky really is my limit at OJ, since the internal and external opportunities are numerous. Whilst I have an extensive network of professionals across the UK, I shall not stop there. Although we continue to dominate the actuarial and investment solutions market, we have expansion plans in place over the next year to grow the desk from three consultants to four. Given my progression over the last couple of years, I think it is realistic that my personal ambition to become a Director will be well underway this year. I foresee my team branching out to cover the wider pensions and investment market, including pensions administration and general consultancy, as well as back and middle-office investment roles.

Alex George

When did you join OJ?

I joined Oliver James in October 2017.

What is your background? (Career history and credentials)

I relocated back to the North West after university, and found my place in the world of recruitment. In October 2013, I joined a large multi-brand global recruiter in Manchester, moving up the ranks from Associate Consultant to Associate Sales Team Manager. Over the four years in this role, I learned what it meant to be a successful recruiter, so much so that in 2016 I set up a new desk for the firm. This led to me making 40 placements – the most in the UK business – and being voted ‘2016 Consultant of the Year’ by my peers.  

Why OJ?

In 2017, I decided it was time to spread my wings. I had always been interested in the financial services sector, and perceived Oliver James as the gold standard company in Manchester, so wanted to find out more. After my first meeting with Oliver and James, it was clear that the firm would be a great fit for me. Not only did I have the opportunity to work on a highly successful desk, but the privilege to learn from some of the best recruitment professionals in the industry. I also relished the chance to partner with many renowned names in the financial services sector.

What disciplines do you cover?

I work alongside Helen on the pensions actuarial and investment solutions market. Having such long-standing relationships and market presence in this field really puts us at the forefront of the market, as a truly valued partner to our clients.  

What level / type of candidates do you place?

We assist candidates in the Actuarial and Investment spaces from the start of their career right through to senior-level positions. The career opportunities available to them through Oliver James range from positions at top-tier, traditional and boutique firms to leadership roles in international asset management companies.

What does your future at OJ look like?

Our dominance in the market means we can quickly adapt to change without compromising on our unparalleled client care – and all while developing new areas of focus. Given my years of experience in the sector, I see myself as a key part of our plans to take the Pensions and Investments desk to new heights.

For a confidential discussion regarding your pensions actuarial and investment solutions recruitment, please contact Helen Kinloch on +44 (0) 203 861 9173 or, or Alex George on +44 (0) 203 861 9167 or

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