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£23bn post office scheme seeks inhouse expertise

UK - The £23bn (€33.8bn) Royal Mail pension scheme is in the hunt for a new inhouse investment manager, following the departure of Malcolm Macdonald.

The assets are all externally managed, in 25 portfolios with 11 different houses, ranging from Hermes, which it used to part-own, to Hamilton Lane and Pathway Capital.

Macdonald’s replacement will be responsible for managing these relationships, helping in the selection of new appointments and making terminations.

Gerry Degaute, chief executive of the Royal Mail schemes, said the successful candidate would have the skill set of an investment consultant or inhouse investment manager at a smaller scheme.

He likened the role to that of a multi-manager who looks for low correlations not just between asset classes but within asset classes by virtue of appointees’ style.

He added that the role covers more than quoted securities; the Royal Mail scheme invests in property and private equity as well.

The scheme does not retain an external investment consultancy but tenders for such services for every new search it wishes to make.

The scheme does not have extensive proprietorial information of its own on managers but relies on consultancies’ databases to draw up long lists.

Degaute said any late applicants would have to hurry as interviews will take place soon. The successful candidate will report to Heath Mottram, who joined as head of investment and actuarial services eighteen months ago.

Macdonald had been with the Royal Mail since 2002. It is not clear whether he has gone to a new position elsewhere.

The main final salary scheme is planning to close to new members. It has a £6.6bn deficit.

The European Commission is also investigating whether the UK acted illegally in offering financial assistance to the Royal Mail, including £850m cash placed in escrow towards paying off the deficit.

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