7 September 2020


Hilary Banks, of Vitality, to join challenger as Andy Peters moves on.

Protection challenger Guardian has announced it is recruiting Hilary Banks, current Divisional Director at Vitality, to the role of Sales Director, reporting to CEO Katya MacLean. It is also appointing Jacqui Gillies, Marketing and Proposition Director, to its Executive Committee reporting to Katya. Both roles take effect when Andy Peters, Distribution Director, leaves the business later this year. 

Distribution Director, Andy Peters, is moving on in December after more than four years with Guardian. Leading the distribution, sales and marketing team, Andy’s been a driving force behind the challenger’s successful launch and early growth. Responsible for building the team and for setting up all Guardian’s major strategic distribution agreements, Andy’s vast knowledge, skills and people-first approach enabled the challenger to come to market in 2018 with a strong brand, capable team and formidable distribution footprint. Guardian now distributes through all the major portals, key protection distributors, and has won places on numerous strategic panels; achievements unparalleled by any other new entrant. 

Upon Andy’s departure, Guardian is appointing two new positions to its Executive Committee. Hilary Banks will join Guardian on 1 December as Sales Director. With a 20-year career in financial services sales, Hilary joins Guardian from Vitality, where she’s spent almost 11 years in protection. As Sales Director, she’ll be responsible for maximising the sales opportunities presented by the strategic agreements already in place, to take the challenger into its next phase of growth. 

Jacqui Gillies, Marketing and Proposition Director is also joining Guardian’s Executive Committee. Recruited by Andy in 2016, Jacqui has overseen development of the challenger’s brand and marketing presence, and took over responsibility for proposition last year. With 38 years in financial services, Jacqui has extensive experience of building a successful brand and proposition from scratch during her 12 years at Royal London, where she ultimately led the Bright Grey brand. Her promotion will see Jacqui continue to drive the challenger’s bold and brave marketing and proposition through its next phase of development. 

Katya MacLean, Guardian CEO, said: “First, I want to thank Andy for all he’s done for Guardian. He’s been with us since the outset, and his unparalleled knowledge and insight gave us the formidable kick-start we’ve enjoyed. Not many new entrants can claim the distribution success and the calibre of team we’ve built under Andy. He’s an empowering leader. His focus on doing the right things by our customers and our people has been key to our success. We’ll miss him, but we always knew it was his intention to move on when we were fully established. We wish him well for the future. 

“Upon Andy’s departure, I have great pleasure in announcing that Guardian’s new Sales Director will be Hilary Banks, former Divisional Director at Vitality. Hilary brings with her a wealth of experience and demonstrable success in driving growth, most recently supporting the success of another great insurance brand at Vitality. She has the perfect skillset to grow on our current success. 

“We also look forward to welcoming our own Jacqui Gillies to the Executive Committee as Marketing and Proposition Director. Jacqui’s been responsible for building our brand since she joined in 2016. With her proven track record of success and experience of supporting advisers to grow their protection sales, she was the obvious choice to lead our marketing and proposition development at board level.” 

Hilary Banks, incoming Guardian Sales Director, said: “I’m extremely excited by the growth opportunity at Guardian. Andy’s built a strong, capable team and an impressive number of strategic agreements and panel positions in such a short time since launch. I’m really looking forward to building on these impressive foundations to take Guardian into its next phase of growth.” 

Jacqui Gillies, Guardian Marketing and Proposition Director, said: “I’m delighted to be joining our ExCo. I’ve loved every minute of bringing this incredible brand back to life. Not many people get the opportunity to set up a new protection business for the 2nd time, especially with such a high-quality proposition and more USPs than you could ever wish for. I’m enthusiastic about our future and look forward to bringing more propositions to market that will help drive our business forward.” 

-Release ends- 

Notes to editors:

Press enquiries to Natalie Robinson, 07789 501146, 

Guardian Financial Services is an appointed representative of Scottish Friendly
All products are provided by Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited (SFA) and we have an agreement with them to underwrite and issue the protection policies we distribute through the UK intermediary channel. As an appointed representative of Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited, Guardian Financial Services Limited is the market-facing brand under which we promote our proposition and engage with advisers. 

Background to Guardian Financial Services, owned by Gryphon Group Holdings
Guardian, the new life and protection insurance business, launched in 2018 and pledged to grow the protection market. The brand promise of ‘Life. Made Better.’ reflects the company’s commitment to rethink and reinvent protection for the better; making sure customers get cover that’s easier to understand, simple to buy and designed to never let them down. 

Guardian’s business partners
Gryphon Group Holdings is majority owned by Punter Southall Group as the largest equity capital investor. Its back-end technology partner is Liss Systems, the UK arm of Nasdaq-listed EXL. Its front-end technology, branding and marketing partner is Space, UK based financial services specialists. Risk partners are Hannover Re and Gen Re.