KR Group appoints Chief Operating Officer

Leading over-55s financial specialist KR Group is strengthening its senior management team, to spearhead further strategic expansion, with the appointment of Michael Schaefer as Chief Operating Officer. 

He brings a wide range of experience and expertise in leading transformation programmes in IT and operational roles, across a range of financial services businesses in the UK and internationally.

Most recently he worked as a consultant focusing on information and communications technology transformation programmes. Previously he was a consultant to the CEO of insurance and lending software provider Risk Free, and also at insurer RGA Underwriting. Schaefer’s experience spans two continents, having started his career in the US, before undertaking roles across the UK and Europe. Other UK based roles include Operations and IT Director at Chase De Vere Mortgages.

His appointment maintains the momentum of transformation at market leader KR Group, which is positioning itself to be a major provider following the retirement revolution being ushered in from April 2015. 

The company, founded in 1998 as an equity release specialist, has rebranded its broker arm; Key Retirement, to reflect the expansion of its range of financial services and advice expertise. Backed by leading private equity investor Phoenix Equity Partners, who bought a majority stake in KR Group in 2013 for £35million; the company has also restructured last year to enhance its focus on distribution.

Further expansion in the lending and income markets is planned, with innovative new products and services on the way for those in and approaching retirement.

Colin Taylor, chief executive of KR Group said: “The appointment of a chief operating officer is another significant move and underlines our ambition to deliver the best possible service to clients and business partners as we expand our operation.”

Chief operating officer Michael Schaefer added: “KR Group’s plans for growth make this an exciting time to join the business. I was struck by the company’s ethos to hold the customer at the heart of all it does and the commitment to continuous improvement. With significant investment in upgrading systems and infrastructure, I look forward to working with the team to develop efficient solutions that improve our customers’ experience and enable ambitious growth plans from our investors.”

Recent expansion for the group has included strengthening its proposition for intermediaries in the specialist lending market with the acquisition of leading secured and unsecured lender V Loans.