Management Team
Meet our management team


Paul Couchman

Paul joined Premier in September 2005, having previously spent 22 years with Mercer – a major global consultancy.

While at Mercer, Paul enjoyed a varied career. He held senior leadership roles in Pensions Consulting, Third Party Administration and Business Development and Marketing. He was a Worldwide Partner and a UK Board member and also served on the Founding Council of the Institute of Customer Service.

As Managing Director of Premier Pensions Management and a Director of Premier Benefit Solutions, Paul has responsibility for all operational aspects of the UK business and leads on our business development and marketing strategy.

Paul is a Fellow of the Pensions Management Institute and serves on the UK Board and its Governing Council. He is also a regular speaker and Chair of industry seminars and conferences.



Ian Gutteridge

Ian joined Premier in November 2006, establishing the regulated side of the business.

Prior to joining Premier, Ian spent 17 years with one employer – albeit under the brand names of Noble Lowndes & Partners, Sedgwick and, following a sale to Barclays, as part of Barclays Corporate Pension and Benefits. Here, he held the positions of Head of UK Consulting and Head of Corporate Regulated Advice.

At Premier, Ian is head of all regulated activities incorporating Premier and Premier Benefit Solutions.

Highly competent in both personal and corporate advice, Ian has overseen large-scale individual and corporate advisory projects, which have included employee services and benefit transformation.



Martin Thompson

Martin joined Premier Benefit Solutions – our regulated business – as one of its founding directors in April 2007.

Martin’s benefits career stretched back more than 20 years. He was previously Head of Employee Benefits Consultancy at Barclays Corporate Pensions and Benefits, and also worked for Sedgwick Financial Services and Sedgwick Noble Lowndes.

At Premier, he leads the benefits team and is responsible for contract based pensions, group risk, healthcare and employee benefits. He works hard to help employers maximise the effectiveness of their benefit arrangements, and help employees understand and appreciate the benefits provided. 

Martin is a Fellow of the Pensions Management Institute, an Associate of the Personal Finance Society and is also a Chartered Financial Planner.



John Herbert

John joined Premier in 2007 to establish and develop the actuarial capabilities within the Group. He is a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and has held a Scheme Actuary Practicing Certificate for the last 10 years.

He has gained extensive knowledge of the actuarial market from his experience working for both independent companies and household names such as Aon Hewitt, Buck. In addition, he ran his own niche actuarial practice. 

He believes that exceptional actuarial advice should not be the sole preserve of larger clients. As such, he has focused on creating high quality service levels, good value and efficient communication.

As Senior Actuary, he is responsible for business delivery and quality within the Actuarial Function.



Jay Solanki

Jay joined Premier Pensions Management in November 2003 having previously worked for a number of the large benefit consultancies in the UK where he was a senior benefits consultant.

Jay has over 20 years experience in pensions, starting his career as an actuarial student before moving into consultancy and client management roles. His varied consultancy roles have seen him acting as secretary to various trustee boards, providing strategic advice to companies in sales and acquisitions and working alongside clients in many industry sectors as they develop their long term pension planning.



Robert Hird

Robert joined our regulated business, Premier Benefit Solutions as Director of Wealth Planning in May 2008.

Before coming to Premier, Robert was a Regulated Private Banker at Barclays Wealth. He has also worked for Sedgwick Independent Financial Consultants and Sedgwick Noble Lowndes during his 21 year career in financial services.

Now, in addition to advising his own portfolio of individual clients, Robert is responsible for developing the latest investment innovations and strategies for the Premier Wealth Planning team – providing holistic independent advice to individuals and high net worth clients.

Robert holds both a Diploma in Financial Planning and the Investment Management Certificate (IMC).