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BP strengthens in-house team with hires from PPF, Aon Hewitt

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BP’s £19bn (€22.7bn) pension fund has increased its in-house capacity, hiring new heads of fixed income and investment strategy.

BP Investment Management (BP IM) has named Ian Smart as head of fixed income and the Pension Protection Fund’s (PPF) Opkar Sara as head of investment strategy.

In his new role, Smart will be responsible for more than £3.3bn in fixed income holdings, spread across the fund’s £2.6bn fixed interest and £469m index-linked bond portfolio.

It holds a further £201m in UK fixed income as part of its pooled investments.

Smart joined in June from consultancy Aon Hewitt, which he joined in December 2012 as senior researcher for bond managers.

Prior to that, he spent nearly three years as managing director at Switzerland’s Helvetica WMP.

However, Smart spent the majority of his career at Lazard Asset Management, leaving Invesco in 1995 for his new role.

Prior to his departure in 2009, he was the firm’s UK head of fixed income.

Sara also joined in June, after nearly five years at the PPF as principal fund manager, in charge of asset allocation and investment strategy.

In June, he told IPE the lifeboat fund would look into building its funded hedging strategy following concerns over the price of derivatives trades.

Prior to joining the PPF, Sara spent more than nine years at HSBC Global Asset Management, starting his career at WestLB Asset Management in 1994.

BP IM declined to comment on either appointment.

Both appointments come after Sally Bridgeland resigned as chief executive of the fund.

Bridgeland, who had been chief executive of BP Pension Trustees for nearly seven years, left in April and has since confirmed she will join Dutch outsourcing advisers Avida International.

The fund slightly underperformed its 15% benchmark in 2013 – the last full year under Bridgeland’s tenure – returning 14.7%.

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