Stephen Coombes

Stephen Coombes is an experienced consultant who has operated in the financial services industry for 20 years. During 10 years with Barclays he held a number of senior executive positions and specialised in all aspects of bancassurance. As consultant to the industry, he has applied his expertise in Finance, Risk, Strategy and Change Management across a broad range of performance improvement projects. He has a commercial approach to all business issues, and has been involved in a number of major transactions.

Stephen's most recent assignment has been as Finance and Risk Director for a division of the Generali Group. This turnaround job required a quick grip on the financial status of the organisation, and measures to improve all the key financial drivers of the business. By implementing new underwriting, cashflow, solvency, expense controls and reinsurance, Stephen was able to develop a turnaround of 40m in the annual budget.
Over the past 5 years Stephen has held roles as Risk Director in a variety of capacities, in all cases developing governance frameworks to meet the emerging regulatory standards of the UK, Irish and European regulators.

A particular interest is the selection, design, negotiation, review and implementation of major transactions. He has been closely involved with a number of acquisitions, alliances, divestments and joint ventures, and has a number of approaches to minimise the risks of such projects failing to deliver to expectations.

Stephen's commercial approach may be demonstrated by two of the projects which he personally promoted and delivered. In 2004, he developed a customer retention programme for a closed book of Life insurance business, which delivered an extra 20m to the embedded value. In 2002 he was responsible for renegotiating an outsourcing agreement with GE, and developed an alternative proposition with another market player. The result was a saving of almost 30% on the annual costs.

In all instances where Stephen has taken over a line role one of his first priorities has been to establish a coherent business plan and develop improved monthly reporting processes to the Board. This demonstrates his commercial and strategic approach to assessing and developing improved business performance.

With over 10 years' consulting experience, Stephen has amassed considerable expertise in project and programme management and the application of appropriate methodologies to deliver results in a controlled and measured fashion. He has broad experience and skills in communicating and influencing senior executives, and places high importance on the performance management measures required to operate an effective team.
Stephen has always had an international outlook on business issues, and has worked in the insurance industry in the UK, Ireland, Continental Europe, Scandinavia, the US, Canada, South America, South Africa, Australia and Japan. His report on the Internationalisation of the Insurance Industry was used as course material in certain US educational establishments.

Stephen has spoken at a number of industry conferences in the UK, Europe, North and South America.

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