Who We Are

Ian McKenna

CEO and Founder

Ian founded Financial Technology Research Centre in 1995 nearly two decades before “FinTech” became part of the industry lexicon.

A boutique consultancy the firm focuses on how personal finance organisations can communicate more effectively with their customers and help them take better financial decisions. As part of this work the firm work with many of the U.K.’s leading long-term savings institutions, financial advisers and technology providers to identify emerging technologies that can transform customer relationships. More recently the firm has added its own InsureTech and RegTech ventures to help advisers ensure they help consumers find the life insurance and workplace pensions solutions that best meet the needs.

In addition to developing a UK view Ian travels extensively to identify similar trends around the world and the lessons that can be learned from other countries.

Poppy Achilles
Chief Operating Officer

Poppy re-joined FTRC in October 2021 after a 10-year period during ​which she worked at various businesses such as L&G, ​Prudential, Vanguard and M&G.​

​She has 25 years of experience across advisory, L&P, ​asset and wealth management firms.​

​She brings a wealth of experience when it comes to business management such as delivering organisational change, people leadership, risk management and governance procedures.

Niki Cooke

Chief Revenue Officer (Protection)

Niki has worked in the financial services industry for over 30 years in various roles. From Insurance providers to CRM suppliers such as Intelliflo, protection technology leader iPipeline. Most recently Director of Intermediary relationships, driving innovation and growth at Twenty7tec, a market leader in digitising the end to end journey in the mortgage world.

Niki will be instrumental in driving forward the ProtectonGuruPro technology solution to the industry. Demonstrating the protection comparison service, enabling Advisers to compare protection products based on quality and price.

Niki loves to spend time walking her Australian Labradooble, Koda. Drinking wine with friends and attending spin classes, loving the combination of music and exercise.

Adam Higgs

Head of Research: Advisers Services

Adam leads Protection Guru’s detailed protection research and benchmarking of both product and operation features provided by insurers and has a vast knowledge of the protection market. He has been instrumental in building the protection comparison service ProtectionGuruPro and maintaining the data to enable advisers to quickly and easily compare protection products based on quality and price. He also works with adviser firms to help in panel reviews and with insurers to help them understand the shape of the market, their strengths and the areas that could be improved in their products.

Jason Green
Chief Commercial Officer

Jason previously spent six years at a High Net Worth advisory firm as a paraplanner to the CEO. Joining FTRC in 2011 as a Research Consultant, Jason has subsequently been appointed Head of Workplace Research, and leads our Workplace Pensions & Savings research and insights, focusing on Group Pensions/Master Trusts, Auto-Enrolment and Financial Wellness.

Alongside this he manages our Digital Wealth Insights analysis. www.digitalwealthsights.com is service to benchmark WealthTechs and other related FinTech companies consistently against their peers to provide effective analysis and insight.

When not in office Jason will be planning his next overseas adventure or exploring the London restaurant scene.

Samantha Smith
Business & Events Manager

With over 30 years in Financial Services, Sam started work for a small Devon based IFA followed by nine years working for NFIFA/IFAA, a precursor to the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment, in marketing and communication roles. She was involved many IFAA initiatives including the national promotion of Standardised Definitions for Critical Illness Insurance and the production of the “Value of…” range of booklets created by the Association to promote independent financial advice.

Sam joined FTRC in 2003 initially as Office Manager and has taken on a number of roles over the years. Her current remit sees her provide administrative support to ensure the smooth day-to-day operation of the company and also running various FTRC events including our highly successful Empowering Advice Through Technology Conference.

Outside of work Sam enjoys going to the theatre and gigs, supports Everton FC (when they’re winning) & is an ardent Formula 1 fan – even the 5am races!

Martin McKenna
Senior Consultant

Martin has been in the financial services world for 30 years, working across many of the key disciplines. ​

​With time spent as an adviser, working in the product world for a life and investment company, as Head of eCommerce in an adviser support services distribution, Lead Business Consultant in adviser software production for a bespoke financial services software firm, and as Head of Business System Design for a large national advice firm.​

Martin was himself a member of FTRC’s Adviser Forum when working in distribution in the 2000’s and has a wide insight across the advice process and the business processes needed to support them.​

Darren Madden
Research Consultant

Darren has been in the financial services industry since 2006. Working in various Financial Services roles from Central Operations, Wealth Management Administration, Senior Employee Benefits to Paraplanning. In this time, he has obtained his Diploma in Regulated Financial Advice, along with other additional CII accreditations to further his knowledge and career in financial services. He intends to continue his studies looking to obtain an Advanced Diploma over the next five years.

Outside of work, Darren is a self-titled tech geek, he builds his own computers, plays Virtual Reality Games. When not stuck inside technology, he loves spending time with his family and friends.

Jack Easter
Research Analyst

Jack joins us from the Blue14 group of companies, where he worked with prosperous start-ups to build their operations from the ground up. During his time there, Jack looked after various key accounts, including taking the lead on management of the fintech portfolio, and managed growth campaigns for multiple UK and US financial apps.

Jack joins the FTRC team to maintain the Digital Wealth Insights report and help continue its growth.

Outside the office, Jack enjoys refining his cooking skills and keeping up with his calisthenics. Jack is also a long-distance cyclist, and recently completed a cross-county Brighton to Liverpool bike ride.

Jess Prasannan
Business Analyst

Jess re-joined FTRC after a 9-year gap, where she worked as a Product Owner/ Business Analyst at Dynamic Planner.

Jess joins the team as a Business Analyst working with our Product and Development teams to support the design and delivery of our products and software.

Outside of the office, Jess enjoys spending time with family and friends, baking, and enjoying a nice meal out.

Jessie Leworthy
Social Media Intern

Jessie is a student studying for her Banking and Financial planning BSc degree at the University of Northampton. She is currently an FTRC intern working on social media as well as forums. Originally from Devon, in her spare time she enjoys surfing and spending time at the beach.

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