Why did you apply to Bradford?
I applied to go to university, via clearing and got into Bradford after a phone interview.
What was your first impression of the University and the city?
I was most struck by the cultural contrasts. I was living in an area where there were lots of first generation immigrant families and studying in what had been a college for ministers of religion complete with stained glass windows and Victorian gothic architecture.
Who are you currently working for and what is your job title?
I currently work for the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) as Head of Restructuring and Insolvency. The PPF pays compensation to pensioners, where their employers have gone bust owing the pension scheme money. I get as much back as I can in respect of those pension debts. I was here when the PPF opened in 2005 and the experience of setting the whole thing up from scratch, by working out what the legislation permitted us to do and not do, was a fascinating experience.
How has your career developed since leaving the University of Bradford?
I have been an Official Receiver dealing with bankruptcies and liquidations; advising Government Ministers on UK, EC and International insolvency policy; and now I recover large sums of money for the PPF by participating in the financial restructuring of large companies (with pension debts) which are in serious financial trouble. Allowing a company to trade on, with a reduce level of debt, can mean we recover much more money than if we simply let it go bust. Although people may find it hard to credit, I still find myself drawing on skills and knowledge I acquired all those years ago on my degree course.
What is the best thing about what you are doing now?
The intellectual and commercial challenge of making sure that the PPF (a public body) competes on equal terms with banks, private equity etc to make sure the PPF gets its fair share of the available funds in a restructuring. Recoveries stand at around £1.2 billion over the last 6 years.
What are your goals for the future?
To collect in a lot more money for the PPF over the next two years and then have a long and very enjoyable retirement!