Pro Dean for International; Director of the Centre for Financial Technology and Innovation
Leeds University Business School
Iain is Professor of Pensions & Finance, Pro Dean for International at Leeds University Business School, and head of the University’s new Centre for Financial Technology and Innovation.
He is recognised internationally as an expert on pensions and retirement savings, most notably on retirement decision-making, pension fund investment, infrastructure investing, sustainable pension systems, trustee governance, and fund management costs and fees. He is widely published in international journals, a key contributor to pension policy and practice and an expert advisor to a range of businesses, policy makers and organisations. Most recently he was lead researcher on a project with the Association of Member Nominated Trustees, the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association, and the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, examining split-voting in pooled equity funds.
While Iain has published widely in internationally ranked journals on pension fund risk management, mutual fund performance, and trustee decision-making, he has also published across a range of topics in accounting and finance, as well as on institutional economics, and corporate social responsibility. Current work includes, discount rates in financial accounts, trustee decision-making, costs and fees in asset management, behavioural biases and annuitization, smart ledgers and collective savings vehicles for pensions, and the application of AI and expert systems in financial services.
Iain is also leading on climate and environmental risk analytics for pensions and asset management for the newly established £10m UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment, led by the University of Oxford with the universities of Bristol, Imperial, and Reading. As part of this project he is also leading on the development of one of the two climate and environemental risk analytics hubs in Leeds and London.
A central feature of Iain’s research is its real-world relevance, and it has been used to advise a range of businesses/policy makers, and he is often cited in the press on issues of pensions, finance, and economics. He has advised organisations including, The CERN Pension Fund, The City of London Corporation, The Work Foundation, The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association, The Office for National Statistics, and the Financial Conduct Authority. Most recently he was the expert advisor to the European Economic and Social Committee on Pan European Pension Products.
The significance and reach of Iain’s work in pensions has been recognised by the University and his peers, by being one of the few case impact studies selected by the business school for REF 2021. His impact case is based on his work on pension funds and trustee decision-making. In 2018, Iain was appointed as a board member of the Institutional Disclosure Working Group (IDWG) of the Financial Conduct Authority. The IDWG was established to improve cost transparency in asset management, and Iain led the development of one of three disclosure templates. The recommendations of this work, and the template he developed, has been adopted by the FCA and is now used by over £500bn of pension fund investments in the UK.
In 2019, Iain established the University-wide Centre for Financial Technology and Innovation. One of the fastest moving and innovative areas of finance is the application of technologies such as AI and blockchain. The University of Leeds is uniquely placed to build a meaningful presence in this area and the centre has brought together academics from computing, law, mathematics, engineering, applied ethics, sociology, and business to create a powerful and outward looking research agenda. Current projects include smart ledgers in pensions, analytics in asset management, and AI in audit. The Centre has also hosted a range of events and seminars, as well as bringing innovation to the student experience through the establishment of the Fraud Wars hackathon with Barclays and Simudyne.
Throughout his career Iain has held various leadership roles and since 2018, has been Pro Dean for International and is now an active contributor to the leadership and strategic direction of the Faculty. Over this time, Iain has created a shift in organizational culture that has increased the importance of internationalisation in both research and teaching across the Faculty. As well as developing the internationalisation strategy, he has embedded the structures and processes necessary to deliver the strategic objectives of the Faculty and the University in this key area. As a result, there has been a significant expansion of student opportunity across UG, PGT, and PGR, as well as an increased focus on internationally recognised research, strategic collaboration, and international funding opportunities.
- Pro Dean for International
- Director of the Centre for Financial Technology and Innovation
- Professor of Pensions and Finance
- PhD University of Leeds (2008)
- BA Hons, Finance, University of Strathclyde (2004)