Our management team combines unprecedented knowledge of the UK retirement market with enviable commercial experience of growing financial companies on a global scale. What’s more, our board and executive management team is amongst the strongest in the SME sector of UK financial services. And to ensure we can meet the needs of our shareholders and stakeholders, our board of directors forms the independent governance committee of the business.

Board of directors


Phil Smith, Director

EMT_PSWith special expertise in business transformation, Phil is our Chief Executive Officer. He brings with him 25 years of global experience across wealth management, asset management, brokerage, insurance and management consulting. Before joining Embark Group in 2013, Phil was Managing Director and Global Management Committee member at Barclays Wealth where he played a key role in the inception and development of the global infrastructure of this business line for Barclays Plc. Phil’s previous roles include Managing Director (Finance, Strategy & HR) at Fortis Investments, the global asset manager of the Fortis Group. He has also held director-level roles at Arthur Andersen, Prudential M&G and Prudential Corporation Asia. During this time, he built up extensive experience of M&A, joint venture partnerships, and greenfield business development across Asia, EMEA and the Americas. Externally, Phil is Non-Executive Chairman of BE-IQ Limited, a leading digital behavioural finance business. Phil holds a first-class degree in Industrial & Business Systems and a post graduate Masters in Strategic Human Resource Management.

Bob Adams, Director

EMT_BABob is a very experienced infrastructure specialist who has delivered and managed large-scale technology and operations environments globally. Over his 25-year career, Bob has worked across the asset management and banking sectors. He has particular expertise in the deployment of complex front-to-back technology solutions within complex international environments. Before joining us in 2013, Bob was Managing Director & Global Chief Information Officer at UBS Global Asset Management. His previous roles include that of Global Chief Information Officer at BNP Paribas Investment Partners (formerly Fortis Investments). His early career was spent in technology with Fidelity Investments, NatWest and Westlandersbank.

Vincent Cambonie, Director

Vincent CambonieVincent’s career spans 25 years’ working in global financial institutions, most recently as Managing Director and Group Chief Financial Officer at BNP Paribas Investment Partners. He has extensive international experience having held various senior finance positions at Merrill Lynch in their Paris, London and New York offices, Instinet Corporation and Fortis Investments before joining BNP Paribas Investment Partners. During his career Vincent has gained valuable skills in performance management and business strategy, including various M&A and partnership activities. Vincent holds a Master of Philosophy in Economics, Applied Mathematics and Econometrics.

David Etherington, Non-Executive Director

BoD_DEDavid has had a highly distinguished career in Financial Services. He became Group Chairman of Embark Group in early 2018 and prior to that a Non-Executive Director. David is also the sole Non-Executive Director for the Group’s 5 primary operating subsidiaries.
During his executive career he has held several Group Executive positions. Between 2003 and 2012 David spearheaded the corporate transformation of Zurich UK Life and delivered the Zurich’s retail and corporate platforms. He held multiple Zurich Board directorships and chaired several board sub committees including the Investment Committee.
David’s career started with the NatWest Group plc where he held down numerous Senior Executive Roles across several sectors including: Global Treasury, International Trade and Banking Services, North American Financial Institutions Group, Retail and Corporate Banking and Group Risk. He was also a core team member in the building of NatWest Life. In 1998, he moved to help build CLS Bank. Thereafter, he held Senior Executive position with and Unum.
David has an Honours degree in Business Administration, in addition to a post graduate NatWest Group sponsored MBA with Distinction. He has also undertaken a Global Programme in Management Development with IESE/University Michigan as part of being on the NatWest Group’s GSED Programme. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Financial Services, Fellow of the Institute of Marketing and a Chartered Marketer, and Member of the Institute of Export. He has obtained his ACIB Banking Diploma. David is also affiliated to the Worshipful Company of World Traders.

Executive management team


Paul Downing, Managing Director

Paul Downing, Managing directorPaul has extensive operational experience within financial services having held senior positions in pension administration, wealth management, stockbroking, and asset management. He also has experience in regulatory consultancy where he specialised in operational issues and undertook a number of skilled person reviews for the FSA. He brings a wealth of relevant experience to Hornbuckle having led platform operations at both Novia and Skandia where he led the operational integration with Selestia.

Sharon Mitchell, Head of SIPP Operations

Sharon Mitchell, Head of SIPP OperationsSharon is our Head of SIPP Operations. She has almost 30 years’ experience in the financial service industry, and has held senior operational and client management roles across a number of third party administrators, and employee benefit consultancies. Most recently, Sharon was UK Operations Director with JLT EB, and she was a previous Partner with Mercer. Sharon specialises in operating model design, outsourcing and offshoring. She is passionate about delivering excellent customer service.

Lindsay Ballantyne, Head of Risk and Compliance

EMT_BALindsay joined the company in August 2016 after a varied career spanning almost three decades. His extensive knowledge and experience of regulatory matters form the basis of a multi-disciplined role, ensuring compliance with FCA rules and principles with a focus on customer outcomes. Working with all areas of the business, he ensures an understanding of the regulator’s expectations and helps to implement and maintain appropriate systems and controls. From a risk management perspective, Lindsay is responsible for maintaining and managing the Risk Management Framework across Hornbuckle, helping the business highlight and mitigate operational and conduct risks.
Prior to joining Hornbuckle, Lindsay worked for KPMG as a Risk Consultant. He previously spent six years with the Financial Conduct Authority working in firm supervision, and a further 20 years in outsourced manufacturing including senior positions in Operations and Commercial roles.

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