Our client was going through a strategic reorganisation of their in-house pensions department. As a result it became clear that a number of key strategic roles Head of Operations and Head of Finance where underperforming and that changes needed to be made to ensure the trustees could achieve their business plan. As a result, our client needed to go to market to find replacement individuals without disrupting the incumbent role holders.

Client Need

The trustees needed to deliver an ambitious business plan of de-risking while negotiating with the corporate sponsor for significant extra funding to reduce the pension fund deficit. This was against a backdrop of a challenging trading environment for the corporate sponsor. Therefore it was essential to find two capable function leaders who could negotiate on behalf of the trustees while understanding the issues the corporate sponsor was facing.

Our Approach

Due to the highly sensitive nature of the search project it was agreed that a covert approach was necessary and that targeted headhunting was the single correct approach for identifying potential candidates. Advertised selection would not play any part in the recruiting process and all potential candidates would have to sign an NDA agreement before finding out who the client was.

At the same time as defining the content of the role and the profile of the desired candidate, Moorlands Human Capital also produced the timeline for the successful delivery of the search assignment. By defining key milestones and essential deliverables we were able to produce an accurate and realistic working timetable to allow the client the ability to forward plan in respect to screening and interview dates. The client had 24/7 access to their data and could see how the search was progressing via our client portal which allowed real-time knowledge sharing and client input as the search process unfolded. By deploying targeted headhunting and systematic research in addition to leveraging our vast network in the pensions industry, we were able to identify the best potential candidates for the position.


We provided our client with a shortlist of highly qualified potential candidates after just four weeks and after ten weeks of interviewing and negotiating, the client was in a position where they had two offers successfully accepted. This allowed our client to swiftly make key personnel changes and ensure a smooth handover of responsibilities. This in turn allowed the trustees to keep its programme of de-risking on track and to sensitively handle its negotiations with the corporate sponsor.