Money Advice Service appoints new chief exec

Caroline Rookes MAS Money Advice Service

The Money Advice Service has appointed Department for Work and Pensions director of private pensions Caroline Rookes as its new chief executive replacing Tony Hobman.

Rookes (pictured) will be paid £140,000 a year, a significant drop from the £250,000 salary paid to her predecessor. Hobman received a total pay package of £350,000 including benefits, which FSA chairman Lord Turner admitted in June was set too high. Hobman resigned from the MAS in July, and will leave on 31 December.

Rookes will take up the role in the New Year. The appointment was made by the FSA and approved by the Treasury.

At the DWP Rookes has overseen the introduction of auto-enrolment and been responsible for the policy, legislation and regulation of the private pension regime and for its protection framework.

She has held a range of posts in social security including operations, policy and finance and has led a number of major benefit reviews. Rookes moved to the Inland Revenue in 1999 and held posts as director of charities and director of savings, pensions and share schemes. She also led a major simplification of the pension tax regime. Rookes moved to her current DWP post in 2005 and was awarded a CBE in 2010.

Money Advice Service chairman Gerard Lemos says: “I am delighted we have found someone of such calibre and experience as Caroline. She really understands people’s money needs. The board was highly impressed with her leadership skills, strategic thought, operational good sense and stakeholder management expertise. On its behalf I thoroughly look forward to working with her in the next phase of making the service even more relevant to people’s needs.”

Financial Conduct Authority chairman designate John Griffith-Jones says: “Caroline has highly relevant experience dealing with and understanding people’s financial needs.  I am sure she will help give the service a continuing strong focus on helping people to understand financial matters, thereby enhancing their ability to manage better their own affairs.”

Caroline Rookes says: “The MAS has a vital role to play in making the nation more financially capable.  It has begun the groundwork for this and I look forward to helping it make an even stronger impact on people’s lives and making good financial behaviour a desirable quality for all.”