The National Employment Savings Trust (Nest) Corporation - Chair

Body: Nest Corporation
Appointing Department: Department for Work and Pensions
Sectors: Business, Finance & Skills, Charity & Public Sector, Regulation
Location: London (Board meetings are usually held in London. They have recently been held remotely due to Covid 19 restrictions, however depending on circumstance Nest may adopt hybrid models with some attendees being present in person and others joining remotely).
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: £91,000 Per Annum
Time Requirements: 2.5 days a week


An announcement has been made on the outcome of this appointment.

New chair appointed at National Employment Savings Trust
Brendan McCafferty has been appointed as the next Chair of the National Employment Savings Trust (Nest) Corporation.

Department for Work and Pensions
3 December 2021

The Minister for Pensions, Guy Opperman, has announced today that Brendan will take up the role on 1 February 2022 for a five-year term.

Nest was set up by the government to ensure every UK employer has access to a guaranteed, easy-to-manage pension scheme following the introduction of automatic enrolment and it has a public service obligation to admit any employer that applies to it.

Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, Guy Opperman said:

I am delighted to confirm Brendan McCafferty as the next Chair of Nest Corporation. He brings a wealth of financial services knowledge to the role and will be a great fit.

Brendan will oversee an important five years as Nest transitions to a new service administrator. I am confident he will continue to develop its service and help millions of workers enjoy a more comfortable retirement.

I would also like to thank Otto Thoresen for his service as Chair. He successfully steered Nest through the ramp up of automatic enrolment and the establishment of its industry-leading responsible investment approach. He leaves behind a lasting legacy.

Brendan McCafferty said:

Nest is now well established and has shown itself to be an organisation with the interests of its over ten million members at its heart.

As Nest sets about the next phase of its development, I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to work with the Trustee Board and wider stakeholders to help ensure we deliver the Nest purpose of helping millions of people enjoy a better retirement.

Nest currently supports around 10.5 million pension scheme members, working with over 940,000 employers.

Automatic enrolment, which has already affected more than 10 million workers, is continuing to play a major role in increasing private sector pension saving to record levels. Since 2012, private sector participation has almost doubled to 86% with 14.3 million eligible employees in 2020.

More information
Nest is an easy to access occupational pension scheme that employers can choose to use to meet their automatic enrolment duties. Nest has a public service obligation to admit any employer who wishes to use it to meet their duties.
Nest Corporation is a public corporation sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions.
The Chair of Nest is appointed by the Secretary of State for the Department for Work and Pensions. This appointment was made following an open competition regulated by The Office for the Commissioner of Public Appointments.
Otto Thoresen will step down as the Chair of Nest Corporation on 31 January 2022.
Brendan McCafferty’s appointment will commence on 1 February 2022. The appointment will be for a period of 5 years. The remuneration will be £91,000 a year for a commitment of 130 days a year.

Date: 03/12/2021

View Announcement

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    30/06/2021 at 17:00

  • Panel Sift

    Week commencing 12/07/2021 TBC

  • Final Interview Date

    Week commencing 06/09/2021 TBC

  • Announcement

    03/12/2021 at 10:00

This role was advertised from 1 April 2021 to 30 April 2021. To widen the competition for this role, the advertisement is being re-opened from 10 June 2021 to 30 June 2021. All applications received in response to the previous advert that were sifted are held and still part of the competition. It is not necessary for applicants who replied to the previous advertisement to make a further application. Any applicants who wish to make any changes to their applications must submit a revised application before the closing date on 30 June 2021.


Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

The National Employment Savings Trust (Nest) is a workplace pension scheme designed around the needs of employers and workers to support automatic enrolment. Nest offers a high quality, easy to use way to save for retirement and is now the largest defined contribution pension scheme in terms of members. Nest currently has 9.5 million individuals saving with it and it is currently looking after £14.5 billion on behalf of those members.

Nest Corporation is the Trustee of the scheme and a Public Corporation based in London. Though Nest Corporation is independent from government, it is accountable to Parliament through the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).


Nest Governance Framework

Nest Corporation subscribes to high standards of corporate governance in order to serve the best interests of scheme members and to fulfil its obligations as a public corporation. The Nest Corporation Governing Body (NCGB or Board) is responsible for governing Nest Corporation, which includes setting the strategic direction and establishing the vision, mission and values. The Board is also responsible for overseeing the implementation of the strategy and the day-to-day operation of Nest, holding the Chief Executive Officer and Executive to account and providing support and challenge as appropriate.

The Board must take decisions drawing on two key sources of power: The Pensions Act 2008, which sets out its functions and powers as a Body Corporate and the Scheme Order and Rules, which sets out its powers as a Trustee. When taking a decision, we must be clear that we have the power to do so and the source of that power.

Nest Board Members work closely with the Executive Team. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) has responsibility for the day-to-day operations and management of both Nest Corporation and the Nest pension scheme. Nest Corporation’s Trustee Members exercise powers but delegate a broad authorisation to the CEO to ensure the efficient and effective day-to-day operation of Nest Corporation. The Board has also established four Committees to provide effective oversight and assurance: Audit Committee, Risk Committee, Investment Committee, and the Nominations and Remuneration Committee.

Nest Board must have between nine and fifteen Trustee Members as set out in the Pensions Act. All Board Members are appointed by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. These appointments are regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

The Board meets around nine times a year and currently comprises the Chair and ten Board Members, two of whom (the CEO and Chief Financial Officer, have Executive responsibilities). The Board ensures that effective arrangements are in place to provide assurance on risk management, governance and internal control.

Against the backdrop of the impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic, new developments in the pensions’ environment, and the implementation of the next phase of Nest’s strategy, the new Chair will play a fundamental role within Nest’s governance framework, providing effective Board leadership and overseeing and leading Nest and the Board through the next phase of its evolution


Role of the Nest Chair

DWP is seeking a candidate with exceptional communication and leadership skills to lead Nest. The successful candidate must be able to demonstrate alignment with Nest’s broad social purpose, culture and values, and a clear and demonstrable commitment to improving the financial resilience of low earners in the UK.

The successful candidate will have the following key leadership responsibilities:

• providing clear guidance and strategic leadership to the Nest Board, maintaining an independent view and facilitating the resolution of complex debates that cut across all aspects of Nest, the Scheme’s members and the environment in which it operates;

• working closely with the Board and Executive Team in ensuring Nest is managed effectively and that its strategy is translated into clear management objectives;

• managing a large Board membership as a team to meet common goals, scrutinise governance and delivery, and ensure best outcomes for the organisation;

• ensuring the effective operation of the Board and corporate governance processes of Nest, including appropriate oversight of the risks and controls frameworks;

• offering support and counsel to the Executive Team and with the Board, holding them to account and provide constructive challenge on the delivery of the strategy and business plan;

• providing effective, cooperative and inclusive chairing of Board meetings and ensuring the ongoing effectiveness of the Board including encouraging a full contribution from all members;

• acting as an ambassador for Nest to ensure the positive and creditable reputation it enjoys is maintained and enhanced;

• managing a high level of public scrutiny and ensuring that the Board has a proper appreciation of the views of Ministers, the DWP and other key stakeholders;

• building constructive and effective relationships at a strategic level with DWP and its Ministers;

• building effective and sustainable working relationships with external and internal stakeholders;

• promoting and securing greater diversity and equality across all levels of the organisation; and

• demonstrating commitment to the Seven Principles of Public Life set out by the Committee on Standards in Public Life (see Annex 1 in the attached candidate pack).


Person Specification

Essential Criteria

We welcome applicants from diverse backgrounds who have the ability to provide strong leadership and direction to the Board and to articulate a vision for Nest.

The successful candidate must be able to demonstrate:

• ability to provide clear, effective strategic leadership through a complex economic, commercial and political environment;

• familiarity with robust corporate governance arrangements and clear ability in navigating and developing a Board through periods of significant change, challenge or crisis;

• strong analytical skills with the capacity to think creatively and strategically, and the ability to provide constructive challenge and support to Executive management;

• effective communication and influencing skills including an ability to influence people, and develop and maintain relationships across different groups; and

• excellent stakeholder management skills, in particular the ability to engage and build effective relationships quickly with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders, including for example DWP Ministers and other key players within the pensions sector.

Desirable Criteria

The following skills and experience are desirable:

• experience of chairing a large customer-focused Board;

• understanding of the role of a trustee, within a charity or public sector organisation;

• financial services awareness and experience of providing effective oversight of large, outsourced contracts;

• experience of working at a very senior level within a commercial organisation with a mass market consumer base;

• an ability to review cost effectiveness and the organisation’s strategy;

• understanding of and commitment to promoting high standards of customer service to members of the public; and

• willingness to develop knowledge of the environment within which the public sector operates including a good understanding of the role and working of parliament.


How to Apply

In order for us to progress your application please submit the following completed documentation:

1 A CV (maximum 2-3 pages) with your education and professional qualifications and full employment history;

An accompanying Supporting Statement (maximum 2 pages, font 12.  Please state the post that you are applying to at the top of the statement). This is this is your opportunity to demonstrate how you meet each of the criteria set out in this information pack. The initial sift is based on this information so it is important to fully address the criteria. You should aim to provide specific examples that demonstrate how your knowledge and experience matches each of the criteria, and which describe what your role was in achieving a specific result.

Please ensure that you clearly state your full name at the top of your CV and supporting statement;

3 Personal Information Form. Most of the information requested is not seen by the panel assessing your application (though the panel may consider your declaration of interests);

4 Diversity Monitoring Form. Collecting and analysing candidate data will help us to improve our diversity strategy. It will allow us to run more successful recruitment exercises in the future and ensure that competitions are fair for all. This form is not part of the selection process and will be treated in strictest confidence. It will be kept separately from your application and will not be seen by the selection panel.

The closing date for applications is 17:00 on Wednesday 30 June 2021.

Late applications will not be accepted.

 Please email your application to:


You will receive an automated acknowledgement once your application has been received. If you do not receive this receipt email, then your application will not have been successfully sent to the inbox. If you do not receive the acknowledgement email, please resend your application or contact us separately as soon as possible on the above email address.

Do not mark your email as ‘Private’ to ensure it passes our electronic security measures.

If you have any difficulty in sending your application or need the application pack in an alternative format (e.g. Braille, large print, audio CD, tape or e-text), please contact the ALB Public Appointments Team.

Personal-Information-Form for Nest Chair
Nest Chair Candidate Pack_FIN 11 06
Diversity-Form- NEST- Chair
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