On your bike: Tom McPhail exits Hargreaves for e-cycling firm

Hannah Godfrey reports...

Long-serving Hargreaves Lansdown pensions expert Tom McPhail is leaving the business in June to work in public relations away from financial services.

McPhail (pictured) has been at Hargreaves since April 2002, where he worked as head of retirement policy. He held the position for 15 years until January 2018, when he became head of policy.

During his time in financial services, McPhail became a respected industry voice, regularly speaking at various industry events and chairing not-for-profit industry group STAR, which aims to specify good-practice targets in pension transfers business.

McPhail is leaving Hargreaves for a PR, lobbying and policy role at electric bike and scooter manufacturer Pure Electric. His last day at HL will be 1 June.

Based in Glastonbury, Pure Electric has recently bought 11 Cycle Republic shops and has ambitions to lead local transport towards healthier and more environmentally friendly solutions. The business was founded by Adam Norris, who set up Hargreaves Lansdown’s pension business.

HL has faced a slew of negative press coverage in the last year after Neil Woodford’s equity income fund was listed in its ‘wealth 50′ best-buy list.

However, McPhail told PA the recent coverage had nothing to do with his decision to leave the FTSE 100 giant, rather that for the last couple of years he had felt a growing sense of wanting to move away from financial services.

“I’m leaving HL on really good terms, I’ve really enjoyed working for them, and if I wasn’t leaving financial services I can’t think of another job I’d want to do in financial services,” he said.

“I want to do something different. I’ve always enjoyed cycling, it’s a good form of transport, it’s healthy, environmentally friendly, [and] this is a company that wants to do interesting stuff. It feels like a really exciting moment to get involved in a business like that.”

Nathan Long, who is senior pension analyst at Hargreaves, will take on some of McPhail’s responsibilities in the short-term, but it is not yet known who will take over the position in the longer term.