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UK public schemes name chair of £25bn Brunel partnership

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A collaboration of 10 UK local government pension schemes (LGPS) has appointed Denise Le Gal as independent chair.

Le Gal – currently chair of the £2.8bn (€3.3bn) pension fund for Surrey County Council – will lead the board of the collaboration, known as the Brunel Pension Partnership.

As well as chairing the Surrey pension fund, Le Gal is a trustee of JP Morgan’s UK pension fund and chair of the pensions committee of the Local Government Association. She also acts as county councils representative for the LGPS’ Scheme Advisory Board and is vice-chairman of the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum.

In a statement, Brunel said one of Le Gal’s first tasks would be to recruit non-executive directors. These hires would help her implement Brunel’s “strategy, shape, and direction”.

John Beesley, chair of the Dorset Pension Fund, said Le Gal’s “knowledge, enthusiasm and will to succeed will be a tremendous asset in shaping the Brunel Company”.

Beesley is chair of the “shadow oversight board”, overseeing the initial development of the Brunel project.

Brunel has been set up as one of the eight LGPS pools that have emerged following the UK government’s drive for improved scale across local government funds. It is expected to cover roughly £25bn of assets for 10 LPGS funds, comprising Avon, Buckinghamshire, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Somerset, and Wiltshire, as well as the Environment Agency Pension Fund.

Last summer the Brunel schemes set out a plan to pool assets into 22 portfolios. This was projected to save £13m a year by 2021.

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