Malcolm Lay Dip PFS - Managing Director

With over 25 years’ experience in financial services, Malcolm has amassed a significant amount of knowledge in the provision of employee benefits. His clients range from individuals looking for pensions investment and wealth management advice through to mid and large sized companies seeking a wider range of employee benefit strategies and administration.

Malcolm is an advocate of clear and jargon free communication. Whether he is liaising with employees to discuss their employer’s benefit or pension scheme or talking to an individual about their pension and investment portfolio, Malcolm takes a refreshing approach that sees clients remain with the firm for years.


“We are very fortunate as Sovereign® has 30 years experience in setting up and running workplace employee benefits schemes to a high standard. Additionally our Wealth Management business goes from strength to strength as an increasing number of business owners, trustees and also private individuals require advice on how best to structure their affairs now and into later life. A great combination on the South Coast!”


Paul Howorth Dip PFS - Independent Financial Adviser

Paul’s role brings him into contact with a diverse range of clients. Having worked in Financial Services for nearly 30 years, initially starting out in banking and then moving into financial advice for personal and business clients, he has built up a broad technical knowledge and understanding of most aspects of Financial Services.

One of Paul’s favourite aspects of his job is getting to know clients and understanding how they got to where they are now. With a wide range of business opportunities, Paul finds this part of his role interesting and challenging and helps him to understand his clients’ ambitions.


Jackie Witcher Cert PMI - Head of Group Scheme Administration

Jackie joined Sovereign® as a Pensions Administrator in 1992 having previously worked in Financial Services for 9 years. She’s now one of Sovereign’s longest serving members. In 1999 Jackie was promoted to Administration Manager reporting to the Managing Director and in 2002 she was promoted to her current position, Head of Group Scheme Administration.

Jackie supervises the Admin Team at Sovereign® Employee Benefits and administers the full range of employee benefit schemes that are currently available. Providing help and guidance to the Admin Team as well as administering Employee Benefit Schemes directly for clients, her role within Sovereign® is vital.  In 2014 Jackie successfully passed the Pensions Management Institute’s Certificate in Pensions Automatic Enrolment.


Melanie Grace - Paraplanner

Melanie has over 25 years experience in the Financial Services industry.  Her first role was as a ‘Sales Support Administrator’ working in the Southampton office for a large UK Insurance company, where she provided valuable service to local IFA’s, eventually being promoted to Team Leader.

In 2004 Melanie joined the financial services division of a national accountancy firm as a Life and Pensions Administrator working alongside Malcolm Lay, who she has worked with ever since. During her time here Melanie has gained vast experience in many areas of Financial Services.

Melanie holds the ‘Financial Planning Certificate’ qualification and assists the advisers with all aspects of personal financial planning as a Paraplanner.

In her spare time Melanie enjoys going to the theatre, dancing and planning her next holiday!


Donna Ayrton Cert PMI - Account Manager Group Scheme Administration

Donna has worked in the industry for over 20 years, 16 of which have been with Sovereign®.

As an Account Manager, Donna enjoys interaction with clients and has specialist knowledge in pensions administration and risk benefit area.


Louise Gell Cert PMI - Account Manager Group Scheme Administration

Some of Sovereign’s clients will have met Louise, especially in relation to Trustee and Scheme Governance Meetings.

Having worked for the company for six years, Louise has obtained specialist qualifications relating to her role, including the Pensions Management Institute’s Certificate in Pensions Automatic Enrolment, and is now a key member of the team looking after some of Sovereign’s Group Pension and Benefit clients.


Kirsten Jackson BSc (Hons) - Account Manager Group Schemes Administration

Kirsten has worked in the Financial Services Industry for over 10 years and brings a wealth of experience to our team.  She is extremely professional and approachable and provides a high level of administration support to our Group Scheme clients.

Prior to joining Sovereign Kirsten has worked for a large Provider, Asset Management and Trustee Administration companies administering both Group Schemes and Self Invested Personal Pension Plans.

In her spare time, Kirsten is keen on interior design.


Shannon Griffiths - Trainee Paraplanner/Office Support Administrator

Shannon has recently started working within the Financial Services Industry and is now enjoying getting to know the clients and learning the advice process whilst she is providing administrative support to the Advisers and Admin Team.  Shannon is always eager to help and is looking forward to expanding her knowledge to help her to maintain the excellent administrative service provided by Sovereign staff.

Shannon enjoys gardening, reading and socialising in her free time.


Fiona Youngs - Administrator

Fiona has worked for Sovereign® for over eight years and still thrives on the variety of work that she gets involved in at the company.

As the first point of contact, many of Sovereign’s clients will have met her when arriving for meetings. A positive and helpful member of the team, Fiona epitomises the culture of the organisation.


Tim Bentall Fellow Chartered Accountants - Consultant Business Development Director

As an external adviser to Sovereign, Tim supports the management team with developing services for clients.

With a strong background in professional services and significant leadership and management experience, Tim’s responsibilities have included being the Managing Partner of the regional office of a national, Top Six, firm of chartered accountants.

Since starting working alongside Sovereign in 2013, he has been closely involved in helping the management team with a wide range of business development issues, drawing on his extensive experience of advising firms that provide professional services. It’s a role that he relishes, providing both variety and interest.