A dedicated defined benefit team to focus on you

We know that implementing defined benefit pensions risk management solutions can be complex and we recognise that specialist experience and knowledge is a critical requirement. That’s why we have a dedicated DB business unit to deliver our defined benefit proposition. 

Our DB team blends considerable industry experience with expert medical underwriting. They focus solely on meeting the requirements of trustees and your advisers, and are supported by our investment team. 

From a standing start in 2012, we’ve achieved a track record of over 135 transactions. So you can rely on our expertise and experience to do what’s right for you and your members. With repeat business through subsequent buy-ins and buy-outs accounting for nearly 10% of transactions, you can see it’s a model that trustees value.

Tim Coulson - Director of DB solutions

Tim Coulson has built and leads our dedicated DB de-risking team.

A qualified actuary, he’s one of the most experienced individual’s active in the de-risking market today, having joined Prudential’s bulk annuity business over 17 years ago. He was part of the initial team that set up and grew Paternoster, after which he was recruited by UBS to develop their longevity offering.

Since his appointment in 2012, Tim has built the dedicated DB business unit with a vision to provide innovative solutions for de-risking underpinned by bespoked transactions and expert administration.

It’s a vision that’s delivered pricing advantage and service excellence to the schemes we’ve transacted.

Outside work, Tim is a keen road cyclist and has represented Great Britain at elite amateur events in Europe.

Business Development and Transition Team

This team is the initial point of contact for all trustees and their advisers.

Led by Rob Mechem, who became Head of DB Business Development in 2014, the team design and deliver solutions that meet the needs of trustees and sponsoring employers. Rob cares about what’s right for schemes when they’re preparing to buy-in or buy-out and has established a team that support trustees and their partner administrators from enquiry, through transaction and onwards to transition.

Rob spent 12 years at Aviva where he had a number of roles including leading the pricing of bulk annuities for six and half years. He qualified as a life insurance actuary while working at Aviva. His actuarial expertise helps us to ensure we’re asking the right questions to focus our expertise so we maximise value for trustees and advisers.

The team pride themselves on being able to tailor solutions to meet the client’s needs. He has built the Business Development and Transition capability at Just and continues to strengthen the team so they’re able to meet the demand from trustees and their advisers. He has a focus, attention to detail and steely determination that ensures our participation in the quotation process adds value and the work delivered is of a high standard.

Rob views transition as an extension of the new business process. The priority is to make the journey from transaction to administration a smooth one. So our transition managers are involved from the beginning, working as part of our business development team. As a result, they’re close to the quotation process, aware of the membership profile and benefit structure and are ready to support transition as soon as the transaction has completed.

Their focus is to work with trustees and their administrators to complete the required data cleanse and set up ‘shadow’ records at Just. This helps us to administer your policy to the high standards we have committed to.

Outside work, Rob is a keen marathon runner.

Legal Team


Our legal team is led by Suhasini Gunasena. She has significant pensions experience gained from top tier law firms, and has focused solely on defined benefits since she joined Just in 2015. When required, she also draws on the expertise of her team and our external legal partners.

This means that you can be confident that we have an expert on hand to tackle the complex legal issues surrounding de-risking.

Suhasini is familiar with all the major EBCs and legal advisers as well as their standard contract terms and requirements. And we’re able to engage with counterparty counsel to reach agreement quickly.

Working closely with our Business Development team, Suhasini is able to identify the legal requirements of each transaction early on, allowing us to manage any issues quickly and bring contract negations to a swift conclusion. This is important when trustees are keen to capitalise on favourable market conditions or complete transactions before the accounting year end of their sponsoring employer.

Outside work Suhasini enjoys travelling, going to the theatre and the ballet, and spending time with friends and family.

Operations and Administration Management Team




Buy-in and buy-out

Following successful completion of the transition process, our operations team will deliver a comprehensive package of ongoing support to you and at buy-out, to your members.

Led by Heather Vaughan our Head of DB Operations, they are responsible for ensuring payments are made on time and all queries are responded to.  Her team will be your main point of contact for day-to-day queries.

Heather has extensive industry experience in managing pension schemes of all sizes and has managed the buy-in and buy-out process for over 130 transactions. She has built the operations and administration capability at Just, creating a centre of excellence. Prior to joining Just in 2012, she held senior operations roles at Rothesay Life, Paternoster and Prudential.

Outside work Heather loves travelling and a range of sports including skiing and mountain biking.


Medical underwriting 

When medical underwriting has been chosen, our DB underwriters manage the collection and analysis of lifestyle and medical data. They conduct telephone interviews with some members, where necessary request GP reports, and liaise with our underwriters to ensure the rating for mortality has been applied correctly.

Their knowledge ensures interviews are a great experience for members and their experience ensures that during calls they put members at ease, build rapport and ensure they feel comfortable to answer the questions required to assess their mortality.

Our administration partner – a scalable solution

To provide scalability for buy-in and buy-out, we’ve secured a long-term contract with an administration partner. We retain full responsibility and control of the services provided. We manage them with robust operational controls to monitor performance and have a relationship manager in place to oversee the contract and ensure service standards are met.

The 'Just' team at our administration partner view themselves as an extension of our operations team, and they act with our service philosophy and culture in mind.

Our administration partner has also ring-fenced a dedicated team who employ our carefully designed, well-established and tested processes. We train this team to help ensure they deliver the focus and standards that we believe our customers require.  In addition to this, our administration partner provides ‘shadow’ administration for buy-ins and full administration, including a policyholder helpline, for buy-outs.

Proposition and Pricing team

This team is led by Phillip Sturgess. Most recently he helped a start-up insurer apply for a new insurance licence. Prior to that, he was involved in the sales of Guardian Financial Services to Admin Re. Previously he held a number of senior actuarial roles at de-risking specialist Lucida covering pricing, longevity and reporting. He has also worked at Milliman and Aviva where he completed his actuarial training.

The team are responsible for product innovation in response to trustee and adviser needs. For example, our DB Choice product provides pricing certainty ahead of transaction with the benefits of medical underwriting.

The team have a deep understanding of medical underwriting and its application to defined benefit de-risking. They also manage our reinsurance relationships to ensure we can deliver the best value for trustees.

After administration, pricing are our largest team, ensuring we’re able to match demand for quotations and when we’re appointed, calculating the ‘true-ups’ that are required. The team are expert when it comes to pricing both standard and medical solutions.

Outside work, Phillip enjoys a range of sports including skiing, snowboarding, squash and running.

Investment and asset sourcing specialists

We have a dedicated team responsible for asset sourcing and investment management for Just. Their focus is to ensure that cashflows from our financial asset portfolio are sufficient to meet the payment obligations arising from the Group’s retirement income portfolio.

They’re led by Gareth Collard whose background is in life and pensions consultancy for major accountancy firms. He’s specialised in risk based capital and stochastic modelling and was one of a pioneering group introducing new techniques and insights from financial economics to the insurance sector.

Gareth has been with us for 10 years. He set-up the investment team at Just Retirement and led the development of our investment strategy so it supports our DB de-risking and other retirement products. The team now oversees assets including, Sterling, US$ and Euro public bonds, private placements, infrastructure debt, lifetime mortgages and commercial real estate lending.

Outside work, Gareth is an accomplished classical guitarist.