Interview - Roger Edwards

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Just weeks into his new position as managing director, Nicola Culley finds Roger Edwards heavily into a planning stage.

Bright Grey and Scottish Provident’s new managing director has not been shy about airing his opinions on gender neutral premium pricing. Roger Edwards has, however, come to terms with the unwelcome change and is poised to support intermediaries through the change.

But with an income protection own-occupation development programme, underwriting speed improvements and digital campaigns to work on, Edwards has rather a lot on his plate.

In addtion, at the back of his mind thoughts of age and disability’s removal from pricing are whirring as the industry awaits the incoming final Equal Treatment Directive.

Edwards was one of the founder members of the management team of Bright Grey, built from scratch by The Royal London Group in 2003. He was promoted to managing director when predecessor Ross Ainslie decided to leave to pursue a master’s degree.

He said the promotion was a surprise given financial services was notorious for giving top jobs to actuaries and accountants.

Edwards said: “Things are really changing in the industry now. The consumer has a louder voice than ever before.”

And with that sentiment he has vowed to change the face of Bright Grey and Scottish Provident’s communication methods. As we saw in Edwards’ ‘two-minute promise’ video online, a key move on his watch will be towards digital campaigns.

When asked for more specifics and details, he replied: “I have only been doing this for weeks so give me a bit more time. But we are moving on from a world of old-fashioned marketing where adverts interrupt what you are doing, such as on TV.

“We are moving into a new landscape where marketing needs to be created such that people want to seek it out. This will be in the form of videos, webinars and podcasts that give out relevant and quality messages.”

Edwards said, having browsed some adviser websites for inspiration, he was particularly impressed by Cornwall IFA Jacksons Wealth Management.

The firm’s managing director Peter Matthew has put together video guides from pensions to protection and EPPs to estate planning. The collection is a separate project in Matthews’ name and is live on MeaningfulMoney.tv.

It holds more than 150 videos and Matthews is in the process of embedding the digital content into the firm’s direct website.

Edwards said: “I was particularly impressed by Peter Matthews in Cornwall. Very quickly we will start to produce this kind of content for both Bright Grey and Scottish Provident.”

However Edwards was very firm in stating that the two brands would not be merging.

Author spotlight

Nicola Culley

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