Guy Mander has been elected the new chair of the Employer Covenant Practitioners Association (ECPA), succeeding Karina Brookes on 1 February, following the Association’s AGM. He is a partner at RSM and has led the UK covenant advisory team within its wider national pensions group since 2015. He is succeeded as vice-chair by LCP’s Francesca Bailey.

Mander has announced that his focus for the next year as chair of the ECPA will be to increase the voice of covenant practitioners in the market, raise standards across the industry and contribute to the debate on industry hot topics, particularly the proposed regulatory changes and the new DB Funding Code.

He is a chartered accountant and licensed insolvency practitioner with over 30 years’ experience in restructuring. He began his career undertaking a mix of advisory and formal insolvency work for a variety of stakeholders in the distressed space. This included a ‘partner’ secondment to the restructuring team at a high street bank.

Mander began advising trustees and corporates on covenant-related matters when the Pensions Act 2004 came into effect, and has now specialised in this area for more than 15 years. His clients span a broad range of sectors and he is a regular contributor on covenant-related matters at industry events.

Speaking on his appointment, incoming ECPA chair and RSM UK covenant advisory partner, Guy Mander, said:

“It is an honour to be invited to lead this organisation of industry peers and build on the tremendous progress made by Karina and her predecessors in championing the critical role that covenant assessment plays in ensuring DB schemes are properly funded and members’ benefits protected. Over the years, ECPA has driven and promoted best practice in this complex and challenging area, and we are delighted to see that covenant is now being embedded in legislation for the first time.

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I take over during what promises to be an evolutionary year for the industry following the issue of TPR’s long-awaited second consultation on the new draft DB Funding Code and a new consultation on its proposed Fast Track and regulatory approach late last year.

Our primary focus will be to ensure that covenant underpins the level of risk supportable on a scheme’s journey towards its long-term funding target as part of the new funding regime. This will ensure members’ benefits are protected. We will continue to engage with TPR on the new funding regime and the revised covenant guidance which is expected later in the spring.”