Consumer Advisory Board

Fairer Finance’s Consumer Advisory Board is an independent group which oversees the work of our organisation, and ensures that we never prioritise our own commercial interests ahead of the interests of consumers.

The Consumer Board meets five times a year and scrutinises Fairer Finance's commercial relationships, research, ratings, campaigning and media commentary.

A report is published by the board once a year.

  • Sue Lewis

    Chair of the Consumer Advisory Board

    Sue is an experienced independent board member and adviser, with a focus on financial services consumer issues, regulation and public policy. Her current roles include lay member of the IFoA’s Regulation Board, and Trustee of StepChange, Surviving Economic Abuse and the FairBanking Foundation.

    During her civil service career, Sue advised successive City Ministers on financial services policy. She has subsequently chaired the Financial Services Consumer Panel, and is a former Trustee Director of the People’s Pension and lay member of the CII’s Professional Standards Committee. Sue also advises International organisations on financial literacy, financial inclusion and financial services consumer protection regulation.

    She joined the Fairer Finance Consumer Advisory Board in 2019 and took over as Chair in January 2023 following Paul Pester's departure.

  • Laurie Edmans CBE LinkedIn

    Member of the Consumer Advisory Board

    Laurie’s executive career was in senior roles in major insurance, pensions and investment businesses.

    As a non-executive, he has served on the boards of NEST, the Pensions Regulator and the Money Advice Service and chaired MGM Assurance.

    He now chairs the Independent Governance Committee for Zurich UK, the DC pension plan for Trinity Mirror plc, and B Different, a specialist financial services research agency.

    He is a Commissioner with the Financial Inclusion Commission, on the Council of the Pensions Policy Institute and a trustee of the Quest School for autistic children. He is a fellow of the Chartered Insurance institute and of the Pensions Management Institute. He was appointed CBE for services to pensions reform in 2006.

  • Helene Brichet LinkedIn

    Member of the Consumer Advisory Board

    Helene joined the Consumer Advisory Board in April 2021. She brings more than two decades of senior experience in blue-chip multi-nationals and growth companies in Financial Services, most recently as UK CFO for Capital One.

    Prior to this role, Helene was the European CFO at EVO Payments. She began her career at PWC, after which she held senior positions at Barclays Bank, Visa International and Visa Europe.

    Throughout her career, Helene has particularly enjoyed the people aspect of leadership and business management. She is currently undertaking an ILM Level 7 Certificate for Executive and Senior Level Coaches and Mentors. She is also is a Trustee of the EDHEC Business School.

  • Walter Merricks CBE

    Member of the Consumer Advisory Board

    Walter joined the Consumer Advisory Board in January 2023, bringing with him more than 50 years experience in the legal and financial services sectors. He was the inaugural head of the Financial Ombudsman Service between 1999 and 2009. Other roles have included Commissioner for the Gambling Commission, Chair of the independent press regulator Impress and a member of the Civil Aviation Authority’s Consumer Panel. Since 2016, he has been the class representative in a £14bn competition action against Mastercard. He was awarded a CBE in 2007 for services to the financial services industry. (Photo: Fraser Allan)

  • Caroline Barr

    Member of the Consumer Advisory Board

    Caroline Barr has almost 30 years’ experience working in financial services and government. She has worked for Lloyds Bank, been a deputy director in HM Treasury and as a member of the Financial Services Consumer Panel. In recent years, she has built a portfolio of non-executive roles and currently sits on the boards of the British Insurance Brokers’ Association, the Business Banking Resolution Service, and Blackrock Life. She chairs the insurance industry’s Access to Insurance Committee, and BlackRock Life’s Investment Policy Committee. She joined the Consumer Advisory Board in January 2023.

Former CAB members

  • Adrian Coles OBE

    Former chair of the Consumer Advisory Board

    Adrian Coles OBE was Chair of Fairer Finance's Consumer Advisory Board (CAB) from 2015 to 2020. The CAB was established in August 2015 to scrutinise the business of Fairer Finance, and ensure that all of its work is of benefit to customers of banks and insurers. Adrian has more than 35 years experience in the financial services industry, most prominently as Director-General of the Building Societies Association between 1993 and 2013.

    He has served on many boards and committees in the mutual and housing association sectors - including the Progressive Building Society, the Reclaim Fund Ltd and Housing Securities Ltd, a housing association borrowing "club".

  • Christine Farnish CBE

    Former member of the Consumer Advisory Board

    Christine was a member of the Consumer Advisory Board between 2016 and 2020. She has worked at senior level in financial services since 1998 when she was appointed Consumer Director at the Financial Services Authority. She joined the National Association of Pension Funds as chief executive in 2002 and was group managing director of Public Policy at Barclays from 2006 to 2011. She has served on the Boards of the Office of Fair Trading, Advertising Standards Authority, ING Direct and Consumer Focus, which she chaired from 2010 to 2014.

    Christine chaired the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association until March 2018 and served as a non-executive director on the boards of OFWAT, OFGEM, ABTA and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals.

  • Paul Pester

    Former chair of the consumer advisory board

    Paul was chair of Fairer Finance's Consumer Advisory Board between 2020 and 2022. He stepped down after being appointed non-executive chair of Tandem Bank. Paul is an experienced Chief Executive with strong consumer, challenger brand and digital credentials.

    Over the past 20 years, he has built and led some of the most disruptive and established consumer financial services businesses in the UK and overseas.

    Paul was the CEO of TSB Bank for seven years, leading the creation and successful launch of the bank when it separated from Lloyds Banking Group in 2013, its £1.4bn listing on the London Stock Exchange in 2014 and building the business to become the UK’s largest challenger bank. TSB was the subject of a £1.7bn acquisition by Spanish banking group Sabadell in mid-2015.

    Paul was previously the founding Group Chief Executive Officer at Virgin Money where he led the creation and establishment of the iconic Virgin brand as a genuine disruptor in UK financial services, as well as launching and leading Virgin Money Australia.

    Throughout a 30 year career, Paul has held a number of other executive and non-executive roles across the financial services and technology sectors, including senior executive roles at Santander and Lloyds Banking Group. He has also held non-executive Board roles at Visa International and software innovation firm MicroFocus International as well as chairing UK Finance’s Advisory Board on challenger banks and competition in banking.

    Paul is a keen sportsman, regularly competing in triathlons and enjoying a range of water sports.

  • Otto Thoresen

    Former member of the Consumer Advisory Board

    Otto was a member of Fairer Finance's Consumer Advisory Board between 2016 and 2022. He has extensive experience in pensions, financial services and consumer issues across a range of private and public sector organisations. He was director general of the Association of British Insurers (ABI) until the end of January 2015 and served on its Board from 2005.

    Previously he was chief executive with AEGON Group from 2005 to 2011 and chief finance officer between 2000 and 2005. He has also held a series of senior marketing roles at Abbey Life, Royal Life Holdings and Scottish Equitable. He was the independent reviewer of the Treasury Review of Generic Financial Advice – the Thoresen Review - published in 2008 which led to the creation of the Money Advice Service. He was Chair of the NEST Corporation between 2015 and 2021.