Who we are

With offices in Basingstoke, Leeds, Manchester, Peterborough and Tonbridge, First Actuarial offers a local service, nationally. We have no external shareholders and are owned and managed by our 9 founders, all of whom are qualified actuaries with many years' pension consulting experience. Brief profiles of our founders, partners and directors are given below.

Founders | Partners & Directors

Michael Hulme-Vickerstaff FIA


Michael Hulme-Vickerstaff Michael is a qualified actuary with 20 years’ experience in the pensions field. He advises trustees of defined benefit schemes in his capacity as Scheme Actuary, as well as employers in relation to benefit design, funding negotiations, liability management and accounting for pension costs. He is appointed as a professional trustee to a scheme based in Derbyshire. Michael jointly manages the Leeds office and has responsibility for company secretarial matters.

Away from work, Michael is a keen skier and also enjoys the occasional round of golf, mountain biking, photography and driving fast cars, in the vain hope that this will keep him looking younger for longer.

David Joy FFA


David Joy David has worked in the pensions field since graduating in 1991, qualifying as an Actuary in 1995. David holds a number of Scheme Actuary appointments spread across the UK.

David helps manage the Leeds office and is responsible for the national financial management of the firm. When not thinking about pensions, David spends his time being run ragged by his two children or catching up with all things sporting. David is an avid sports fan, and tries to stem the onset of middle age with the occasional game of tennis, badminton or golf.

Chris Martin FIA


Chris Martin Chris started his actuarial career in 1992 and is a qualified Scheme Actuary in our Tonbridge office.

Chris jointly runs the office and is also responsible for Operations within the firm.

The majority of Chris’ clients are ongoing where Chris holds the Scheme Actuary appointment and focuses on providing actuarial and general pensions advice in an easy to understand way.

Chris also regularly speaks, as a guest speaker, at lawyer seminars on topical actuarial issues.

Outside of work, Chris enjoys keeping fit in the gym and learning to play the piano.

Mark Riches FIA


Mark Riches Mark Riches is a qualified actuary who first started out in the pensions industry straight from University in 1990. Mark jointly runs the Leeds office of First Actuarial and is responsible for business development.

He acts as Scheme Actuary to some 15 schemes and also advises a similar number of employers on their defined benefit schemes. Mark heads up our team specialising in advising Universities about their pension commitments and will speak on pensions wherever anyone will listen.

Outside work, Mark enjoys going to the gym to get fit (rather than to keep fit), is learning to play tennis and also to speak Spanish. All of this is to fill the gap in his life left by the current decline of Middlesbrough football club. Still, "El Boro poderoso puede levantarse de nuevo" as they might say in Spain.

Hilary Salt FIA FPMI


Hilary Salt Hilary Salt is a qualified actuary, runs the Manchester office of First Actuarial and is our Senior Actuary.

Her work covers traditional actuarial consultancy including acting as a Scheme Actuary advising the trustees and advising employers on their final salary schemes. She also acts as an independent trustee.

In addition, Hilary works extensively with trade unions assisting in collective bargaining situations, running training courses and advising on the pension schemes run by trade unions themselves.

Hilary has written for a number of pension scheme publications and is a regular speaker at conferences.

Peter Shellswell FIA


Peter Shellswell Peter jointly manages the Basingstoke office. He holds a Scheme Actuary certificate and advises both employers and trustees about the management of their pension schemes. Many of his recent projects have related to helping employers manage the risks associated with their pension schemes.

He also leads the First Actuarial Social Housing team and is a regular speaker at National Housing Federation and other events.

Peter graduated from Cambridge University in 1991 with an honours degree in pure mathematics and started his actuarial career with Towers Perrin in the same year. He set up his own firm in 1999 and co-founded FIrst Actuarial in 2004.

Away from work Peter enjoys flying, golf and is closely involved with his local church. He is also a keen amateur astronomer.

Alan Smith FIA


Alan Smith Alan Smith is a qualified actuary with 30 years’ pension experience and runs our Peterborough office.Alan helped found First Actuarial, in 2004.

Alan chaired the Institute of Actuaries Wind Up seminars in 2003 to 2005 and spent two years on the Pension Board’s Current Issues Committee. Alan now acts as a Principal Pensions Lecturer on the Institute of Actuaries Professionalism Courses for newly qualified actuaries.

As well as acting as Scheme Actuary to a number of schemes Alan has extensive experience in advising employers on their pension strategy and has clients in the private and not for profit sectors.

Outside work, Alan enjoys the theatre and martial arts.

James Smith FIA


James Smith James Smith is one of the founders of First Actuarial and jointly manages the Tonbridge office.

James is a Scheme Actuary and advises trustees and employers with a range of final salary and money purchase schemes. James focuses on helping trustees and employers to achieve an acceptable level of risk in their defined benefit pension scheme and to achieve more certainty in the future.

Within First Actuarial, James chairs the Employer Services Group, the Investment Ratings Committee and is responsible for Compliance. Externally, James assists with the management of the NAPF South East Group.

Outside of work James likes to run and keep fit and has a keen interest in health and wellbeing.

Keith Williams FIA ASA


Keith Williams Keith qualified as an actuary in 1986 and is based in our Basingstoke office. He has held senior management positions with both consultancies and insurance companies and is a Scheme Actuary.

For most of his working life, Keith has helped both trustees and sponsoring employers to understand the finances of their pension arrangements and to manage the associated risks. Keith’s clients really appreciate the fact they can understand his advice!

In addition to working with his clients, Keith is a frequent speaker at seminars, including those run by the Actuarial Profession. He is also a former member of the Society of Pensions Consultants’ Personal Pensions Sub-Committee.