Careers Blog

Lorna Tonner reflects on her career with Hymans so far

25 years and counting...

13 Oct 2022 - Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

What was your role when you started at Hymans Robertson?

I started in August 1997 as an actuarial graduate in the Glasgow office, having just graduated from Glasgow Uni with an honours degree in Statistics. At that time, we were based in an old Georgian building in West George Street, with around 70 employees over 5 floors.

One of my first jobs was to make sure the actuaries’ indices were photocopied every day from the FT and filed away as we couldn’t access them on a system anywhere, and we didn’t have email until a year or two after I started. Any external emails had to go via James Kelly to be sent out! I was regularly dispatched to pick up cakes when it was someone’s birthday and organising Friday lunch was important. This involved personally asking everyone on our floor if they were coming and booking a venue.

After about 6 months, I moved into the public sector team. At that time, we only had around 6 people (from partner level to graduate) working on a similar number of LGPS clients as we do now. I focused quite a bit on how we could manage work (especially the triennial valuations) as efficiently as possible. Over the years I moved into people and team management, qualified as an actuary and advised most of our public sector clients at some point! Public speaking and pitching for new clients was also part of my role. As a natural introvert, I found public speaking easier than you’d expect, as it meant everyone at the conference knew who you were and had something they could talk to you about – it made conversations in all the breaks far easier!

One highlight in that role was working on a report for what was the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister on proposed changes to the LGPS. This resulted in Douglas Anderson and myself attending a meeting at the Houses of Commons with the Pensions Minister, Unions and other advisers on the topic.

What’s your role now, and what path did you take to get here, what are the various roles you’ve had?

Whilst still in the actuarial team and advising public sector clients, I also became deputy practice manager for the actuarial practice. This was at a time where we had practices rather than business units, and were just developing our leadership in that area. I loved learning about how we ran the business, from budgeting and finance, to people leadership and development, which is a passion of mine.

I moved part-time after having my daughter 12 years ago and still work three days a week now. Around that time, I was still spending half my time on client consulting, and half of it on leadership, which was becoming difficult to manage. I therefore decided to focus on one aspect and chose the leadership side. I felt I could make more of a difference there. I moved into the newly formed Risk Modelling and Consulting practice (RMC) and helped set that up. It later morphed and evolved into our fantastic I&A team.

Several years later, I moved into our Commercial Group, which brings together our commercial skills and expertise across all aspects of a client lifecycle into one brilliant team! My focus there is particularly on people development, and I have recently helped develop our Growth Planning Toolkit, to help support our people and their managers in individual’s development.


What do you love most about working at Hymans Robertson?

It doesn’t feel anything like the same job or firm as it was 25 years ago, but the friendliness and support from people in the firm remains a constant! I feel I am constantly learning and applying skills in different ways, and have been able to move around the firm into other areas. My passion outside of work relates to the environment and, now that my two children are at school, I spend my other 2 days a week working on my own business – a website selling eco-friendly products. I feel very lucky that the firm has been hugely supportive in me doing this, and I am finding myself heavily involved in work on lots of aspects of CSR, from Green Champions to Diversity and Inclusion.

What’s been your key highlight from the past 25 years?

I was delighted to become a partner in 2006. I was the first ‘home grown’ partner in the firm, I believe, and it’s been fantastic to see the firm and partner group grow over the years. I love supporting others to develop and have been delighted to see several people that I have managed or mentored become partners themselves.

What’s been the biggest change you’ve seen?

So many changes. From the sheer volume, complexity and range of work we do for (a far wider range of type of) clients, to the technology we use and focus on user experience. Some of our work in the past was accurate, but delivered through long reports written in an extremely technical way. These were difficult for the user to read and absorb. Our communication now is so engaging, from the style of writing to the visual design and different methods of communication. I also love how we are constantly evolving what we do for our clients, and even who those clients are. This keeps it interesting for all of us too!

Has anything stayed the same?

The people. I know it’s a cliché but the people have always been friendly and so supportive. From day one, everyone in the business looks to help others out, even at very senior levels, which is fantastic!

Any words of wisdom for anyone new to Hymans, or considering joining?

Get involved! We have so many opportunities in the firm to do something outside of the day job – this might be joining a D&I network group to help support activity in that area, becoming a green champion, volunteering or even just organising a social event. These things don’t take much time, but are fun and interesting.

Subscribe to our news and insights

0 comments on this post