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Brunel seeks head of private markets for £28bn LGPS asset pool

Brunel Pension Partnership (BPP) is looking to hire a head of private markets as the collaboration of UK local government pension schemes (LGPS) tackles the next stage and a core part of its business development.

The role will cover real estate, infrastructure and private equity and debt.

The appointee will have overall responsibility for investing assets that are expected to exceed £5bn (€5.48bn), representing 20%-25% of the asset pool’s approximate £28bn of assets. This is based on the 10* underlying pension funds’ existing allocations or intentions.

The Bristol-based investment management company is looking to move away from a fund-of-funds approach to private markets, and the successful candidate’s initial focus will be on identifying and investing in a range of direct funds on the best terms possible.

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BPP is interested in taking more direct and efficient approaches to private markets, such as co-investment, bespoke funds and joint ventures. After the initial focus on direct funds, the head of private markets will be expected to investigate and develop the latter investment options, according to the job advert.

The successful candidate will report to Mark Mansley, BPP’s chief investment officer.

Clifton Suspension Bridge Bristol

Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, where BPP is based

He said private markets were a key area for Brunel.

“By raising our game in private markets we feel we can save the LGPS funds quite a bit of money and hopefully do a better job for them,” he told IPE.

The partnership is keen to take a leadership role in responsible investment in private markets and take a genuine long-term approach to these markets, according to Mansley.

“Obviously some of our clients are very interested in this subject,” he said.

The Environment Agency Pension Fund (EAPF) is one of BPP’s founding members and is recognised as a leader in responsible investment. Mansley is the EAPF’s former CIO.

He noted that substantial progress on responsible investment in private markets had been made, citing as an example the work done in real estate by GRESB, a Dutch company that tracks the environmental, social and governance performance of real assets.

Infrastructure was a slightly more complex area when it comes to responsible investment, but the hope was that BPP’s future head of private markets would “get their teeth into it”, he added.

BPP was formally incorporated on 18 July.

*LGPS funds for Avon, Buckinghamshire, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, the Environment Agency, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Somerset, and Wiltshire.

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