Interview with Alex Findlay, trustee of Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund

Alex talks about how he supports the military sector through his trustee role at Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund.

Alex Findlay, Director at Aon

Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund (LPF) has supported the Armed Forces Community on behalf of the Lloyd’s market for over two hundred years. In the last ten years, LPF has made grants of over £3 million to help Britain’s Armed Forces and their families. With trustees from across the Lloyd’s market, we ask Alex Findlay, Director at Aon about why he became a trustee and what the role entails.

Tell us a bit about you and how you became aware of Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund?
After University, I joined the Army where I led a high threat search team in Afghanistan in 2010 and worked in the Defence Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Search School as the training officer. I left the Army in October 2011 and was fortunate to find employment in the London insurance market, working for Willis across a range of roles. I now lead the EMEA and Asia property team at Aon. I became aware of the LPF whilst at Willis, where I heard the LPF were looking for trustees with recent military experience.

Why did you decide to become a trustee?

After speaking to the Chair and understanding the voluntary role, responsibilities and time commitments, I was excited by the prospect of learning new skills and knowledge. With my recent military experience, I believed I could add value and I was keen to give something back to the military sector, which had looked after me so well.

When you have your “trustee hat” on, what does your role entail?

LPF is a grant giving organisation funded by the Council of Lloyd’s and donations from the Lloyd’s market companies. All trustees are responsible for the overall governance of the charity, including risk, finances, compliance, acting in the best interests of the charity. As a trustee, I am responsible for awarding funds to charities who most closely align to LPF’s objectives, funding innovative projects that meet the real needs of the sector today.

What do you enjoy most about being a trustee?

I most enjoy the amount I learn about the military charity sector. During the short time I have been a trustee, this sector has changed drastically. In 2013, the UK was still heavily involved in operations in Afghanistan, and there were a huge number of small charities, often set up by friends and families of soldiers who had been wounded or killed. At that time, the greatest need was for medical and rehabilitation support. Today, many of these charities have merged, and the current needs focus on mental health support, housing support and transition support into future employment.

What do you find to be the most challenging part of being a trustee?

I find it very hard to be objective about charitable work, as I feel that all the charities that I have met through my trustee role are passionate and hardworking. Saying ‘no’ to some is the most challenging part of being a trustee. However, LPF has limited funds and we want to make sure we have the most impact that we can so we can’t say yes to everyone!

What have you gained from being a trustee?

I have found being a trustee extremely beneficial to me personally, as I believe I have learned a lot from my fellow trustees, some of whom are very senior people from the Lloyd’s market, the military and even politics. They have well articulated and wide ranging views on the sector and encourage debate in a well structured and succinct manner which I have learnt a lot from, and I try to apply these principles to my day job (with varying success!).

Through being a trustee, I know I am doing something with my time that is helpful in the wider society, and that is extremely satisfying. Being a trustee opens your eyes to other industries, people and real-life problems, and this is important to maintain a sense of perspective in life.

What would you say to someone thinking of becoming a trustee?

1. Make sure you understand the role and what is required of you.
2. Do not worry if you are being asked about a subject area you are not an expert in, sometimes a fresh perspective helps!
3. Embrace the role. The more you put into it, the more you will gain from it.

And finally, tell us more about how the Lloyd’s market is active in supporting the Armed Forces community.

Lloyd’s and the market have a unique tradition that must be upheld through LPF, as the oldest military charity in the UK. There is a deep connection between the market and the Armed Forces so much so that events like London Poppy Day are part of our DNA.

I have helped establish a network of veterans in the London insurance market called the Lloyd’s Military Network (LMN). This focuses on helping veterans to transition into the insurance industry through a work placement programme, which complements the work of the LPF. I believe that Lloyd’s takes up a unique approach to its community and charity work and I am extremely proud to work in the Lloyd’s market as a result.

If you want to find out more or you are interested in donating to Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund , please get in touch at