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Chris Hitchen to chair DB scheme consolidator

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The Pension SuperFund – set up earlier this year to promote consolidation among UK defined benefit (DB) schemes – has appointed Chris Hitchen as its first board chairman.

Hitchen has held senior roles in the UK pension industry for more than 20 years, including as chief investment officer and then chief executive officer of RPMI Railpen, the industry-wide scheme for the country’s railways sector.

He left this role last year and now holds non-executive positions at several financial services groups, including chairing the Border to Coast Pensions Partnership, a collaboration between 12 local authority pension funds. He also chairs two pension schemes for UK housing associations and is board member at NEST. 

Hitchen described the Pension SuperFund as “an important and timely innovation”, adding that “well-run, right-scaled institutions” were vital to improving retirement outcomes.

In addition to Hitchen’s appointment, the consolidator has also brought in former Hannover Life Re chief executive Wolf Becke as a member of its commitments committee, which assesses new clients for transfer into the SuperFund.

Becke led Hannover Life Re as it became the first reinsurance counterparty for Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC), a specialist UK insurer of DB pension funds. PIC was set up by Edi Truell, whose Disruptive Capital investment vehicle has also backed the Pension SuperFund.

Becke currently chairs for supervisory board of reinsurer Aegon Blue Square Re and the board of directors at UK life insurer Vitality.

Luke Webster, the Pension SuperFund’s CEO, said: “We are building a team at The Pension SuperFund that will ensure first class leadership and governance for the future, all united by our purpose to improve the security of members’ pension promises.”

He indicated that further appointments would be announced in the next few days, as the company continued to prepare for its first deal.

The appointments follow the loss of the Pension SuperFund’s first chief executive, Alan Rubenstein, who left after just six months at the helm. Private equity firm Warburg Pincus also backed out of providing financial support for the venture last month.

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