UK – Geof Pearson, manager and secretary of the £3.8bn (€5.5bn) Sainsbury pension fund, will shortly be retiring from the scheme.

IPE was told by an employee at the scheme that Pearson “is retiring at the end of next week. He has already left the scheme.”

Pearson has been at the fund for more than 15 years.

It is unclear whether a successor to Pearson has been named yet. The scheme deputy is Bob Bain, and the pension investments controller is Chris Armitage. The scheme did not respond to calls from IPE.

Last week, Armitage told delegates at a commodities conference the Sainsbury fund plans to invest 5% in commodities by the end of June 2006.

Sainsbury’s has been in the news recently due to its £2bn refinancing plans, with a £350m contribution to its pension scheme.

The scheme – which has a roughly £300-£400m FRS17 deficit – has until this point had a traditional 60/40 equity/bond split. The new target exposure is as follows: 5% commodities; 5% currencies; 4% property; 3% hedge funds; 6% private equity; 35% bonds; and 55% equities.

In April last year, the pension fund also doubled its exposure to funds of hedge funds - investing new money and resources diverted from passively managed UK equities. Allocation to hedge funds increased from £25m or 1.66% of the portfolio in 2004, to 3.33% or £90m.