Meet the administration team member – Gary Potts

Gary Potts

National Payroll Manager

What does the administration team do?

We’re the first point of contact for members of all the pension schemes we look after. We deal with scheme members on a daily basis, over the phone or by email. They might need help with a change of address or bank account, or they might want a retirement quotation or transfer value pack. We also do scheme-level work, such as annual benefit statements, annual pension increases and scheme renewals.

So there’s a wide range of work that we carry out for both the scheme and its members.

What is your role within the administration team?

I’ve got two roles at the moment. I’ve recently become the national payroll manager, and I’m also team leader of the pensions administration team in Manchester, where I’m based. I’ve been at First Actuarial for more than 10 and a half years.

As team leader, I’m responsible for making sure work is allocated and actioned by the administration team within our service level agreements. I attend client meetings and deal with trustees on a regular basis. I also have line management duties, like staff appraisals and objective setting. But I spend most of my time checking work completed by the team. A lot of the quotations and transfer packs that the team produces will come to me, so I can check the calculations and sign them off before they’re issued to members.

What will your work involve today?

At the moment we’re quite busy with pension increases. So as well as supporting members, I’ll spend part of today checking some of the pension increase exercises. And within my new payroll role, I will have payrolls to check and team resources to look at.

How does First Actuarial support your professional development?

First Actuarial supports professional development from day one. If new joiners are looking to do professional exams, then the company is more than happy to support them. They provide study days and pay for exam entry fees and study materials.

Quote Mark

It’s just a great place to work. From my very first day at First Actuarial, I felt supported by more senior members of staff. If you come to work here, you can go as far as you want really – nobody will hold you back, and you’ll get the backing to achieve your goals.

How do you see your career progressing at First Actuarial?

My new national payroll manager role is the most senior role in that area of work. In administration I’m a team leader, and above that we have administration managers. So one day I would hope to become an administration manager, and my long-term goal is to become a partner of the firm.

Within administration, the typical career path is to come in as a trainee administrator, working your way up to senior administrator and then team leader, with administration manager after that.

Can you describe the working culture?

Everyone is approachable, from the partners down to the most junior members of staff. You don’t get that exposure to senior colleagues in every company.

We have a relaxed working culture. It’s not all about hitting billing targets; it’s more important to get the work done correctly. We also have a no-blame culture, so if anything does go wrong – because people do make mistakes – we don’t single anyone out. It’s a First Actuarial problem, rather than being down to the individual.

What makes you happy about working for First Actuarial?

Talking to members is great – they’re from many different walks of life, and you get to have a good chat with them. I also enjoy checking the calculations and the quotations as well as looking after the pensioner payroll function for the firm as a whole. And we have a really good team of people who all get on; we’re all there to help and support each other.

It’s just a great place to work. From my very first day at First Actuarial, I felt supported by more senior members of staff. If you come to work here, you can go as far as you want really – nobody will hold you back, and you’ll get the backing to achieve your goals.

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