Tim Leighton

I have personally suffered as a direct result of the kind of fraud, malpractice, malfeasance, misconduct and mis-selling by the financial sector that the TTF is dedicated to resolving.  I am therefore firmly aligned with the  values of the TTF and its aims regarding reform of the Financial sector.

I am keen and willing to assist the TTF and the wider related community to actively promote and drive reform of the financial sector so that it serves society in a better, fairer and more transparent way.

It is important that large and powerful institutions such as banks are held to account; and the same applies to the relevant Government departments and financial regulators that are supposed to provide oversight and governance of the financial system.

I want to help ensure that all SME’s and consumers are treated honourably and fairly, in a timely manner. I am passionate about obtaining transparency and fair disclosure promptly to reduce wasted time and costs and to uphold the law and regulations as they were intended to be enforced – properly. No bank should be beyond the reach of the law.

Michelle Thomson

Michelle is a member of the Scottish Parliament representing the Scottish National Party. She currently sits on the Finance & Public Administration Committee and the Economy & Fair Work Committee. In her current role she has been active in building awareness of the issues caused by corruption in the financial sector; and how this can impact Scotland’s global brand, especially opaque financial vehicles such as Scottish limited partnerships.

Michelle is also a former MP and member of the Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Select Committee where she came to prominence for the enquiry into the collapse of BHS. She also has a chapter of the latest version of Shredded by financial writer Ian Fraser named after a speech she gave about the behaviour of banks. A former Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Fair Business Banking she continues as an ambassador for this group to the present day.

Michelle has written about the need for change to the culture and ethics at the core of financial services for outlets such as International Banker.

Prior to entering politics Michelle held a variety of senior roles in financial services, primarily  delivering large scale transformational change.

Willy Kambwandira

With over 12 years of progressive work experience working with local and international civil society space  in Malawi, Willy Kambwandira is the Executive Director for Centre for Social Accountability & Transparency (CSAT), where since 2019 he has led CSAT’s work to support and collaborate with other partners to ensure government is held accountable and citizens actively participate in the affairs of the state.  Prior to joining CSA,  Willy worked with Pact under the 4Children Global Project; a USAID funded OVC Programme as a Capacity Development Advisor (2017-2018). From 2014-2017, Willy worked with Plan International Malawi as a Child Protection Coordinator at Dzaleka refugee camp, Malawi and he also worked with One Community Project; USAID funded OVC/HIV Project as an OVC Program Officer. Before joining Plan International Willy Worked with Kalondolondo Programme as a Programme Manager (2012-2014) where he led DFID efforts to increase transparency in use of Local Development Funds and strengthen the state of accountability in Local Authorities through increased citizen engagement.

Willy has a wealth of experience in designing child protection interventions in Malawi including in emergencies, developing citizen driven social accountability tools, capacity building of local partners, setting advocacy agenda on child protection and social accountability, policy targets and budget tracking. His celebrated achievements include facilitating the establishment of a Child Parliament for refugee children at Dzaleka refugee camp, advocacy for the Amendment of the Public Finance Management Act 2003 to allow citizens play oversight role in management of public funds in Local Authorities in Malawi.

Willy has vast work experience in engaging with government agencies such as Malawi Parliament, Ombudsman, National Local Government Finance Committee,  locals CSOs and donor community such as the World Bank, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNDP, USAID, DFID, EU, GIZ, National Endowment for Democracy,  International Budget Partnership and management of donor funded projects.

Willy holds a Master of Arts degree in Diplomacy and International Relations from Africa University, a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Malawi, and a Certificate in Child Protection in Emergencies UNHCR/Refugee Point.

Alexander Samarin

Alexander Samarin wrote his first software program in the year 1973. Since then he works with digital transformation projects (primarily as a leading architect) of different scale: company, community, corporation, canton, city, country, confederation, continent and civilization.

Based on his experience in many fields and being the author of two books (about LaTeX and BPM), he acts as a methodologist, architect and practitioner for architecting, building, operating and evolution digitally coordinated systems such as: digital enterprises, smart cities, digital currencies, digital territories and countries and digital governments.

He is a member of

  • ISO, IEC and ITU “Joint Task Force on Smart Cities”
  • ITU “Digital Currency Global Initiative”
  • IEC Strategic Group “Systems Approach and Digital Transformation” as a leader of “Architecture” task force
  • IEC System Committee “Smart Cities” as a convenor of WG3 “Reference Architecture”
  • ISO/IEC JTC 1 /AG 8 “Meta Reference Architecture and Reference Architecture for Systems Integration”
  • ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 41/WG 6 as a co-editor of “Digital Twins reference Architecture”

He worked for: IFRC, UEFA, Schneider Electric, African Development Bank, the State of Geneva, BUPA, Groupe Mutuel, International Olympic Committee, ANU, ISO, CERN and IHEP.

At present, he runs his own consultancy company SAMARIN.BIZ

Matthew Steiner

Matthew is the founder and key driver in establishing Aetas Partners. He has over 20 years’ experience in the financial services sector.

Matthew originally trained as a financial adviser and is a passionate and motivated leader, with incisive vision and strategic skills. Matthew specialises in creating strategic connections within the private client ecosystem and is a pioneer in the development of tailored estate and inheritance tax planning solutions.

In his previous role, Matthew was a shareholder and director of a boutique asset management firm where he developed the firm’s multi-asset approach to estate planning and widened its service proposition. He developed an award-winning partner service programme which brought together the key professional services required for a holistic lifetime and estate plan for clients and their advisers.

In 2008, Matthew took a six-month sabbatical in Nepal where he volunteered as an English teacher at a local school in Pokhara. Based in an orphanage and working with the children, he gained a TEFAL qualification and learned some Nepalese in the process.

He joined Close Brothers Investment Limited in 2000 to help set up the property division. He later became the Senior Business Development Manager, where he cut his teeth distributing their range of tax efficient products which included venture capital trusts (VCT), enterprise investment schemes (EIS) and inheritance tax services (IHT) which used business relief (BR).

Brenda Sullivan

Brenda has significant experience in risk management and strategy in the financial sector, and expanded that in manufacturing and supply chain. She became involved in sustainability and now has the ISSP-SA credential and deep involvement in improving society and the planet. As a supporter of TTF and especially PISCES since 2018, she believes in the importance for all to have good governance and fair financial access in a safe and thriving world. As ESG and social value become more mainstream, Brenda will bring some of her sustainability experiences back to the financial sector to help TTF in its aims.

Ben Vernazza

Ben became a CPA in 1961 and was an investment adviser for 40 years. He is a graduate of Stanford University with a BA in Economics and a joint MA from the Stanford Business School and the Food Research Institute where he was coached by his mentor, Professor Dr. Karl Brandt, a member of President Eisenhower’s Council of Economic Advisers. Ben received the Private Sector Initiative Commendation from President Ronald Reagan in 1984.

He was the founder of The Overseas Oversight Group in 1998 that has oversight responsibilities as protector of overseas trusts and companies, as well as starting three other financial advisory organizations. He sold his investment advisory business in 2012 and co-founded PFA with Stewart Frank in 2014.

He served four-year terms on committees of the American Institute of CPAs including the Investment Committee that had oversight over the pension and health plans of the employees of this 350,000-member organization. He is a past chairman of the AICPA special task force on International Tax Reporting Requirements. Prior to these nationwide professional assignments, he participated actively in California CPA Society Committees. Additionally, he served on the asset protection committee of the American Bar Association and as a member of the Probate and Trust Division.

David Masters

David Masters has worked in and around the asset management and wealth industry for the last 30 years.

During the last 20 years, as a director and partner of Lansons, David has been advising boards and senior management teams of asset managers, private equity firms, hedge funds and banks on key reputation and communications issues. He led the team that launched Vanguard into the UK and  is part of the team that saved the Co-operative Bank and has been rebuilding its reputation.

Previously David was a fund analyst with Standard and Poor’s/Micropal in London, Boston and New York.

David is a regular contributor on challenges facing the investment sector. As well as an ambassador for the Transparency TaskForce, he is also a member of its advisory board.

Peter O’Donnell

Peter was a victim of a Ponzi scheme recommended to him by his bank manager in 2001, operated by a firm of chartered accountants in Leicester. He sued the bank but had to withdraw when threatened with bankruptcy. From this he became familiar with how banks and financial advisers work the system and its loopholes to defraud unsuspecting people into trusting but losing their entire retirement savings, generating billions for happy scammers who know they are inviolate.

For the first 11 years of his working life Peter was an army infantry officer serving in South Vietnam, the Australian Special Air Service and an instructor at the Officer Cadet School Melbourne. He left to join IBM as a marketing representative before starting his first business in computer industry search and selection.

He moved to the UK in 1991 and in 1994 opened the first European computer consultancy dedicated to Microsoft technologies for large firms. After selling the company in 1999, he worked as a management consultant for IT and recruitment companies until starting New South Law (solicitors) in 2013, specialising in pension investment mis-selling fraud litigation.

He has dedicated the remainder of his working life to helping victims of pension fraud and changing how large-scale white-collar crime is viewed and corrected.

Neil Esslemont

Neil Esslemont recently retired to Cyprus, after working for The Pensions Regulator in the UK for about a decade, where he gained an in-depth understanding of the pensions and payroll industry.  Specifically, Neil was an expert on the automatic enrolment legislation and the technical and regulatory challenges involved with introducing a Pensions Dashboard.

Neil’s background is in the IT & Telecommunications industries, where he worked for over 30 years for blue chip companies such as International Computers Ltd (now Fujitsu), Coopers & Lybrand Deloitte (now PwC), BT and Siemens – after graduating a year early from Exeter University with a Mathematics and Physics degree.

With his blend of government and consultancy experience, together with his technological and financial knowledge & skills, Neil has gained significant insight into many of the challenges currently facing the finance and pensions industry – and has been a supporter of TTF’s mission for many years.

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