I am a Professor of Social Gerontology at The University of Manchester and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. From 2016 – 2019, I was the President of the British Society of Gerontology and Director of MICRA, the Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing. I am a member of the Pension Advisory Group and was one of the lead authors of the report ‘A Guide to the Treatment of Pensions on Divorce: the Report of the Pension Advisory Group’ (July 2019).
After reading Law at Trinity Hall, Cambridge in the early 1980s, I qualified as a barrister and practised law in the Middle Temple specialising in complex ancillary relief cases, ultimately becoming a founding member of Coram Chambers, a set of barristers’ Chambers specialising in family law. I was drawn into academia by concern over possible increases in pensioner poverty as a result of rapid social changes in family life. My PhD research (2005) concerned the impact of family change on pension scheme participation in the UK.
Since then, my research has focused on finance over the life course, especially pensions and poverty in late life, financial services for an ageing society, household money, and the financial consequences of cohabitation, separation and divorce. My research centres mainly on gender and age in the study of inequalities, poverty and wellbeing in later life. I have held numerous research grants from diverse funders, publishing widely in these areas. I am frequently involved in analysis and commentary on UK pension reform and pensioner poverty. Primarily a quantitative researcher, I also have an interest in survey methodology and data analysis, and I am a Deputy Director of the UK Data Service. I am currently a member of the Legal & General Longevity Science Panel and a Governor of the Pensions Policy Institute.