The Money Advice Trust is led by a senior leadership team and wider management team. We also benefit from the knowledge and experience of our president, ambassadors and trustees who offer their time to help us achieve our vision.
Joanna Elson CBE CDir
Joanna is Chief Executive of the Money Advice Trust, whose vision is to help people across the UK to tackle their debts and manage their money with confidence.
Previously, she was Executive Director at the British Bankers’ Association running their policy department for personal and small business customers. Before that she was a House of Commons researcher and prior to that a primary school teacher.
Joanna is a director of the financial services trade association UK Finance, representing vulnerable consumers, Chair of the Advisory Board at Birmingham University’s Centre on Household Assets and Savings Management, and a member of the Government’s Financial Inclusion Policy Forum. She is also Vice Chair of the Friends Provident Foundation, a Chartered Director and a Director of Fair 4 All Finance, which is using dormant account assets to improve financial inclusion.
She lives in North London with her husband, Simon Horne, who is a Headteacher, and their three daughters. In her spare time she reads, runs, cycles and climbs Munros.
Najwa Al Abdallah
Director of Corporate Services
Najwa joined Money Advice Trust in July 2021 as Director of Corporate Services, and oversees the charity's finance, HR, business support and risk & compliance functions, as well as the collaborative work of the Trust as an organisation.
Growing up in a small village in Lebanon, in poverty and during the civil war, built Najwa’s resilience and passion to work for charities with focus on eliminating poverty. She has 21 years of experience working for several international NGOs around the world, overseeing finance, HR, IT and compliance and risk, and regularly blogs on issues such as fighting corruption in development and humanitarian aid organisations. She is an associate consultant at Humentum and is a Change Management Practitioner, Operational Excellence Practitioner, and Associate Member of the Certified Fraud Examiners.
Najwa was also recently appointed as a member of the board of trustees of International Rescue committee UK and is member of the Audit and Governance Committee.
Najwa is a humanist, and enjoys cooking, travelling, reading and dancing in her spare time. She lives in Kingston Upon Thames with her Irish Husband who is a music teacher.
David Cheadle MBA
Chief Operating Officer
David is responsible for the development and implementation of the Trust's strategy and the delivery of service provision. This includes via National Debtline and Business Debtline across all channels. He oversees the design of the client experience within the Money Advice Trust as well as working in collaboration with other organisations on how this can be improved across the sector.
Supporting this work, David has responsibility for the Trust’s digital and IT functions to ensure that technology works effectively for clients and complements the work of advisers. David is also responsible for the Trust's free debt training services through Wiseradviser to help to ensure a consistent, quality of advice across the sector via flexible and accessible training solutions as well as the Trust’s training and consultancy services which helps organisations to better understand and support their customers in vulnerable circumstances.
Director of External Affairs and Partnerships
Jane oversees our external affairs and partnerships work, leading the public affairs, insight and business development teams. She is responsible for the Trust’s work to improve public policy and industry practice so that people can tackle their debts and manage their money with confidence, the promotion of the Trust’s own services and for championing the provision of free debt advice more widely. She also manages the Trust’s business development team, building partnerships with creditors and other funders, and the Innovation Grants programme, which funds innovative debt advice projects.
Previously, Jane led the policy and public affairs team at Charity Finance Group covering impact reporting, regulation and public service reform, and worked for the Charity Commission, managing the regulator’s support for charities during the economic downturn and their work on social investment. She has also worked in public affairs for NSPCC, campaigning on child protection and domestic abuse issues, and has experience in policy roles with both local government and international institutions. In addition to working professionally in the charity sector, she volunteers for a number of local community groups.
The Money Advice Trust benefits from the knowledge and experience of a president and nine ambassadors who offer their time to help us achieve our vision.
Our president is Baroness Tyler of Enfield, and our ambassadors are Otto Thoresen, Baroness Coussins, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles KCMG LVO, Sir Ian McCartney, Sir Brian Pomeroy, Carol Sergeant CBE, and Simon Walker CBE.
The role of the president is to bring important issues of relevance to government and other key sponsors, as well as to represent and raise the charity's profile. The role of our ambassadors is to champion our work amongst a range of key stakeholders.
Baroness Tyler of Enfield
Baroness Tyler of Enfield is a life peer in the House of Lords and chaired the Lords Financial Exclusion Select Committee. A former chief executive of the charity Relate and chair of CAFCASS, she is currently Liberal Democrat spokesperson for mental health in the House of Lords, serves on the Lords Select Committee on Public Services, co-chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Social Mobility and the All Party Group on Children, is Vice Chair of the APPGs on Mental Health and on Wellbeing Economics and is a Board Member of Social Work England.
Bim Afolami MP
Bim Afolami is the Conservative MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, the constituency he has served since 2017. He is a Commissioner on the Financial Inclusion Commission. In Parliament, he has held a wide range of roles within the Conservative Party and Government, recently as Conservative Vice Chairman. Bim is Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Financial Markets and Services and Chair of the APPG for Renewable and Sustainable Energy.
Christine Farnish CBE
Christine Farnish is a former Managing Director for Public Policy at Barclays and a former Consumer Affairs Director at the Financial Services Authority (now the FCA). Christine led an independent review of the Money Advice Service in 2014 and is a former Ofwat and Ofgem board member. Christine also chaired the former consumer watchdog Consumer Focus up until its merger with Citizens Advice.
Sir Ian Cheshire
Sir Ian Cheshire was Chair of Barclays until January 2021, and holds a number of roles including as Honorary President of the Business Disability Forum, and Chair of the Heads Together campaign – set up by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Sir Ian has also held the role of Government Lead Non-Executive, responsible for overseeing scrutiny of departments’ work and improving the way public services are delivered.
Otto Thoresen is a former Director General of the Association of British Insurers and former CEO of AEGON UK. In 2008 he authored the Thoresen Review of generic financial advice that helped lead to the creation of th Money Advice Service (now the Money and Pensions Service).
Otto is a former Chair of the Personal Finance Education Group and a former Trustee of StepChange Debt Charity. He now has a portfolio career including as Chair of NEST, Aviva International Insurance, Aberdeen Standard Investments Life and Pensions and the BT Pension Scheme.
Baroness Coussins, a life peer and independent cross-bencher, has worked in the public sector, the charitable sector and for an industry-funded education and regulatory body in paid for, non-executive and advisory capacities. She has held positions including Non-executive Director of The Advertising Standards Authority, Chief Executive of The Portman Group, and Director of social policy and equality assurance for the Commission for Racial Equality.
Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles KCMG LVO
Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles KCMG LVO is Group Head of Government Affairs at HSBC Holdings and Chairman of the Financial Inclusion Commission. Sir Sherard spent more than 30 years in the British Diplomatic Service, serving in Cairo, Washington and Paris, as Principal Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary and latterly as the UK’s Ambassador to Israel, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.
Simon Walker CBE
Simon Walker was Director General of the Institute of Directors until early 2017 and has previously served as Communications Secretary to HM The Queen at Buckingham Palace, Director of Corporate Affairs at British Airways, and as a special adviser in the Prime Minister’s Policy Unit at 10 Downing Street from 1996-97.
Adam Sharples CB
In a career spanning 23 years in the civil service, Adam Sharples most recently served as Director General for Employment (2009-11) and Director General for Work, Welfare and Equality (2004-09) at the Department for Work and Pensions, following several senior posts at HM Treasury including Director of Public Spending (1998-2003).
Since 2011 he has served in a variety of non-executive roles across the public, private and third sectors, including as non-executive Chairman of Ixion Group and a Governor of Anglia Ruskin University. Adam is a non-executive director at University College Hospital and is a member of the Money Advice Trust's finance and strategy committee and the nomination and remuneration committee.
Sarah joined the Trust’s board in December 2022 and is a member of the audit, risk and quality committee and the nomination and remuneration committee.
Sarah is the Director of Reward for Sainsbury’s where her responsibilities include setting the pay and benefits strategy for front line hourly-paid colleagues and management. She has over 20 years’ experience working in reward and started her career as an executive reward specialist with New Bridge Street Consultants, advising remuneration committees on a range of executive pay matters, including incentive design and corporate governance. In 2012 she made the move in-house and became the Executive Reward Manager for Sainsbury’s becoming Head of Reward in 2016. She is also a committee member of The Remuneration Group (the independent group of FTSE 100 reward directors).
Rebecca joined the Trust's Board in September 2018 and is also a member of the audit, risk and quality committee. She is currently chief executive of Avocate (previously the Bar Pro Bono Unit), a charity matching members of the public who cannot pay for advice with a pro bono barrister. Prior to this Rebecca was director at the Litigant in Person Support strategy which helps people without means through the court and tribunal process.
She holds a number of government and professional advisory roles including sitting on the HMCTS Reform Programme, Litigant in Person Engagement Group. Rebecca has also previously held a number of non-executive director roles including at the National Pro Bono Centre, the Advice Services Alliance and Blackfriars Settlement.
Vineeta joined the Trust’s board in September 2018 and is a member of the audit, risk and quality committee.
She brings strong financial analysis, strategy and business development skills.
Since 2014, Vineeta has served as a Non-Executive Director/Audit Chair in a number of organisations including an NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, Royal Free Foundation Trust, Sandwell Children’s Trust and Relate.
She has spent twenty five years in fund management and investment banking, including at blue chip global firms such as Merrill Lynch, Credit Lyonnais and County NatWest Investment Management.
Most recently she has operated at Managing Director and board level growing start-up emerging market investment banks.
Lawrence joined the Trust's board in September 2017 and is a member of the Trust's audit, risk and quality committee. He is chief executive of the Global Infrastructure Investor Association (GIIA) and was previously chief executive of Energy UK. He was Energy UK's chief operating officer when it was formed in 2012 and had specific executive responsibility for all energy supply activities including retail markets, smart metering and grids, energy efficiency and consumer engagement.
Lawrence has been involved in the energy industry since the late 1990s working in countries all over the world to build an understanding of the geopolitics of energy and both how the sector is central to everyday life and supports thriving economies.
Lawrence ran the Energy Retail Association before Energy UK was formed and previously ran the Society of Petroleum Engineers, expanding the society's operations in Russia, the Caspian and Africa. He was also deputy chief executive and technical director of the Energy Institute in London.
Paul joined the Trust's board in September 2017 and is Chair of the finance and strategy committee. He has served as director general of the Council of Mortgage Lenders between 2011 and 2017. Paul is well known and highly regarded in the financial services trade body sector, having previously been chief executive of the Payments Council and, prior to that, the founding director general of the Association of Independent Financial Advisers. He also previously worked for the Independent Television Commission, the Association of British Insurers, the London Stock Exchange and the then Department of Trade and Industry, and was closely involved in the launch of Faster Payments Service. Paul is a board member of the Money Advice Liaison Group (MALG), a non-executive director of the Residential Landlords Association and chair of the Peer to Peer Finance Association.
Laurence joined the Money Advice Trust’s Board in September 2019 and is a senior director and chartered accountant with extensive programme leadership and multi-disciplined global management experience. Laurence is currently working with NHS Digital as part of a significant organisational change programme.
His previous experience includes twenty years at Credit Suisse working in a variety of senior positions based in London, New York and Zurich latterly as Chief of Staff and Chief Operating Officer for Corporate Services Technology in Zurich. Laurence has also worked in the publishing and automotive sectors in a variety of financial roles.
Lucy joined the Money Advice Trust’s Board in September 2019 and is a skilled consumer advocate with experience in policy influencing and a background in law.
Lucy is currently working as an independent consultant with a particular interest in reducing the impact of scams and fraud on consumers and using an inclusive design approach to improve outcomes in consumer markets. Lucy was formerly Senior Policy Manager at Age UK leading on the charity’s public policy work on financial services, utilities and scams. Her other previous roles include leading projects in Rwanda and Ethiopia to combat rights abuses and providing legal representation and counselling support for victims of sexual violence.