Royal London creates dedicated lobbyist role

Royal London Group, the UK’s second-largest mutual insurer, has revamped its public affairs capability with the appointment of its first dedicated lobbyist.

Former head of retail communications Gareth Evans has taken up the new role, to which the group has given the title head of corporate affairs.

Royal London’s creation of a dedicated public affairs role comes within weeks of the Government’s launch of a review of corporate governance in the mutual sector, led by Guardian Media Group chairman Paul Myners.

The review is designed to make the directors of mutuals as accountable to their members as the heads of public companies are to their shareholders.

‘Now is a good time for us to make our case to the Government as the Myners review has only recently begun to take evidence,’ said Evans.

The appointment formalises Evans’s corporate affairs responsibilities, which were part of the duties of his previous job and were supported by corporate and public affairs firm The Jackson Consultancy.

Evans said Royal London would not be reviewing its public affairs support over the next year.

Evans’s previous position, to which he was appointed in 2002, has been scrapped, with retail comms responsibilities now split between Evans and Royal London head of communications Alasdair Buchanan, to whom he will report.

Evans will continue to head Royal London Retail’s external communications team.

In addition to handling the group’s relations with the Government and financial services regulators, including the Financial Services Authority, Evans will occasionally act as spokesman for the company on issues affecting the industry.

Royal London manages £24bn through three main business units – Scottish Life, Scottish Life International and Bright Grey independent financial advice brands – as well as fund management arm Royal London Asset Management and Royal London Retail Operations, which provides savings, investment, pensions and insurance.

Royal London uses Mainland PR for retail and consumer public relations.

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