Spence & Partners, Aviva, State Street, DWP, L&G, Elo, EdenTree, Cardano, Railpen, Church Commissioners, PFA, NBIM, Elo, Keva, LGIM

Church CommissionersTom Joy, chief investment officer at the Church Commissioners for England, has announced his departure after 14 years in the role. He will leave in early April to take up a new CIO position overseas.

“Tom’s investment acumen, leadership and commitment over the past 14 years have combined to make an immense contribution to the Church Commissioners,” said Gareth Mostyn, chief executive officer of the Church Commissioners for England.

“The strong returns that he and his team have achieved have enabled the Commissioners to make very significant financial distributions available to support the work and ministry of the Church of England,” Mostyn added.

Joy joined in 2009, when the endowment fund stood at about £4bn (€4.6bn). By the end of 2022, when the last audited results were published, it was over £10bn. The fund has now posted 14 consecutive years of positive returns. The long-term performance of the Church’s endowment fund enables long-term sustainable financial support for the Church’s ministry, contributing around 20% towards the total annual running costs of the Church of England.

“Thanks to Tom, we have one of the worlds’ most respected, values-driven endowments, with a clearly articulated investment philosophy supported by robust governance and a high quality investments team,” said Alan Smith, the First Church Estates Commissioner. “We are all very grateful for what Tom has helped the Church Commissioners’ fund to achieve during his tenure and the strong position he leaves us in as we transition to his successor.”

The Church Comissioners said the recruitment process to find Joy’s replacement will begin shortly.

Railpen – The fiduciary and investment manager of the £34bn railway pension schemes has announced that Stu Blackett, chief financial officer and an executive director, stepped down from the role on 8 January 2024, and will be retiring from the organisation in April 2024.

After a comprehensive search, Maura Sullivan has been appointed as successor and has joined the Railpen board as an executive director as of 8 January.

Maura Sullivan at Railpen

Maura Sullivan at Railpen

Blackett has worked for Railpen since 2001 and, in recent years, “has focused on supporting transformation, helping us to build stronger foundations on which Railpen can successfully deliver on its purpose to secure our members’ futures”, the firm said.

Sullivan has sat on the Railpen board as an independent non-executive director, since 2022. She has more than 25 years of experience in finance, including most recently as deputy group CFO at Quilter, where she led the transformation of the finance function and significantly improved insight and decision support capabilities around business performance.

During her career, Sullivan held CFO and executive director roles for 12 years at Credit Suisse UK Private Bank and Credit Suisse Asset Management, the UK arms of the global Credit Suisse International Wealth Management divisions. She has also held leadership positions at Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Chase.

3173 Limited – The UK pension governance, advisory, investment and technology group, which includes the Dalriada Trustees, Spence & Partners and Mantle businesses, has appointed Bill Galvin as CEO. He will join 3173 on 22 January as CEO designate and assume full responsibility as CEO from 1 March.

Galvin will take over from current CEO and founder of 3173, Brian Spence, who is stepping down from his executive role but will continue in a non-executive capacity as deputy chair, alongside Stephan Wilcke as chair.

Spence will keep some pre-existing client responsibilities and retain his investment in the group, made at the time of the June 2022 management buy-out of the group supported by growth investor Synova.

As CEO of 3173, Galvin will support Chris Roberts, Alan Collins and Mike Selby, the managing directors of Dalriada Trustees, Spence & Partners and Mantle, respectively, as they look to grow these businesses.

Galvin previously served as CEO of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), the UK’s largest pension scheme, for over a decade. During his time as CEO, Galvin built a high-performing executive team, and steered the scheme through challenging circumstances. Prior to joining the USS, he spent almost five years at The Pensions Regulator, latterly as CEO, where he was responsible for the efficient regulation and supervision of the UK pension market notably during the launch and introduction of autoenrollment in 2012.

PFARasmus Bessing has been promoted at PFA’s investment division, PFA Asset Management, to the newly-created role of head of ESG and co-CIO. Up to now, he has been chief operating officer of the unit.

Bessing is the only co-CIO at PFA, and a spokesman explained that the “co” prefix in his title “is to signal seniority and the ambition that Rasmus will work across liquid and private assets with reference to Kasper [Ahrndt Lorenzen, PFA Group CIO]”.

Patrick Cunningham at Cardano

Patrick Cunningham at Cardano

Cardano – The investment management and advisory specialist has appointed Patrick Cunningham to the group’s management board, effective immediately. Cunningham will be responsible for further development of the group’s products, services and solutions for a wide range of investors. He continues to be a partner and co-head of clients of Cardano UK where he leads with several of the firm’s advisory and investment clients.

Prior to joining Cardano in 2015, Cunningham spent nearly 15 years at Goldman Sachs in New York and London, where he was a managing director in the investment banking division’s pension advisory group.

The board of Cardano Group is now comprised of Cunningham, Michael De Lathauwer, Claire Bowyer, Patrick Luthi, Harold Naus, and Kerrin Rosenberg.

EloJarkko Heikkilä has been appointed chief risk officer and member of the management team of the employment pension company Elo. He is responsible for Elo’s comprehensive risk management and thus supports the implementation of Elo’s strategy and the continuity of operations. Previously, Heikkilä was Elo’s head of risk management.

Martti Luoma has been appointed as head of compliance and supervisor of Elo’s compliance function. In his position, he reports to Heikkilä.

Legal & General (L&G) – The firm has added two new senior appointments to its defined contribution (DC) leadership team. Jayesh Patel joins as head of DC clients, with overall responsibility for L&G’s workplace, IOP and institutional client relationships. Stacy O’Sullivan joins as L&G’s new head of DC strategy and development, focused on the firm’s strategic priorities for the DC market, new business support and project management.

Both appointments build on the growth and success of L&G’s market leading DC business, which looks after the retirement savings of over five million members, with over £146bn (€169bn) in DC assets under management and the sector’s largest commercial mastertrust.

Prior to joining L&G, Patel was co-head of DC consulting at WTW, where he was jointly responsible for the UK DC team’s client, colleague and financial management. His experience at WTW covered a significant number of DC arrangements, focused on improving financial outcomes for individuals.

He has 20 years of experience in DC pensions and has worked as the lead consultant for a number of large corporate and trustee clients, providing clear advice on all areas of their DC pension plans including scheme design, investment strategy, financial wellbeing, retirement support and governance.

With 25 years of DC consulting experience, O’Sullivan has provided strategic advice to some of the largest and most progressive DC pension schemes in the UK. Now, she brings her extensive knowledge of the DC market and insights into strategic propositions to L&G. Her focus will be on ensuring that L&G continues catering to the specific needs of clients and members.

Previously, she spent four years at Muse Advisory, where she played a pivotal role in developing their independent DC consulting business. Prior to that, she served as a partner in LCP’s DC team and co-headed trustee services for the broader LCP business.

EdenTree – Responsible investment veteran Neville White has left the asset manager, where he was head of responsible investment (RI) policy and research and head of corporate governance. He joined EdenTree in 2010 after more than 12 years at CCLA as head of ethical investment.

Announcing his departure on social media, White said his time as a practitioner in responsible investment had been “a fascinating, exacting and extraordinary journey to see how a niche concept, ‘ethical investing’ has evolved and blossomed into a serious, demonstrably value accretive investment strategy for the many”.

White plans to return to EdenTree later this year in a freelance advisory capacity as part of a plan to segue into a part-time advisory/consultancy role.

Anthony Arter - UK Pensions Ombudsman

Anthony Arter, UK’s pensions ombudsman

The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) – The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has appointed Anthony Arter as the interim chair of TPO. Beginning on 1 January, this will be for an interim period during which a recruitment campaign will be conducted to fill the position permanently.

With a wealth of experience and expertise from his various roles within the pensions industry, including chair of the Ombudsman Association, former pensions ombudsman and interim deputy pensions ombudsman and deputy Pension Protection Fund ombudsman, Arter brings valuable insight to this important role.

Arter will succeed Caroline Rookes, who sadly passed away earlier this year and had served as chair of TPO since September 2019.

In his capacity as interim chair, Arter is entitled to an annual remuneration of £24,000, based on a minimum time commitment of 36 days per year.

Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM)Carine Smith Ihenacho, chief governance and compliance officer at NBIM, is moving to New York for a year.

On LinkedIn, she said: “Look forward to working with all my great colleagues in our New York office and being more active in the US market.”

NBIM, the manager of Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global, has become a more active litigator in the US recently, announcing on 1 December that it is leading a class action for the first time – joining Sweden’s AP7 as co-lead plaintiff in a US lawsuit aiming to recoup investment losses on the failed Silicon Valley Bank.

Terri Dempsey at State Street

Terri Dempsey at State Street

State Street CorporationTerri Dempsey has been appointed as country head of Ireland. She will oversee the delivery of services and strategy for all of State Street’s operations in Ireland and report to executive vice president Cuan Coulter.

Dempsey moves into the country head role formerly held by Tadhg Young, who recently assumed the position as head of State Street’s global clients division and is now based in Boston.

Dempsey started her tenure with State Street in 2005 and has held a variety of senior positions. Most recently, she has been responsible for the global delivery operational groups and served as interim head of State Street Funds Services (Ireland) Limited. Having spent more than 25 years in the Ireland financial services industry, she brings a depth of operational, governance and management experience to her new role.

Aviva Investors – The global asset management business of Aviva has appointed Vasileios Gkionakis as senior economist and strategist, reporting to Michael Grady, head of investment strategy and chief economist. Based in London, Gkionakis will cover macroeconomics and major asset classes with a focus on the UK and Europe.

Gkionakis has years of experience in financial markets, both on the sell and buy side. Until July 2023, he worked as the EMEA head of FX strategy at Citigroup and before that served as the global head of foreign exchange strategy at Lombard Odier Wealth Management in Geneva. Prior to Lombard Odier, he was co-head of strategy research (equities, rates, credit and cross asset) and head of foreign exchange strategy at UniCredit Bank Research in London.

Finnish Centre for PensionsMaarit Selin has been appointed director of information management and member of the management group at the Finnish Centre for Pensions from 1 March 2024. She will join the organisation from her previous position as senior sales executive at eSystems Nordic.

EloJonna Ryhänen has been promoted at the Finnish mutual pension insurance company to the role of CIO and deputy CEO, having been working as interim CIO there since last autumn following the departure of the previous CIO and deputy CEO Hanna Hiidenpalo.

Elo said its recruitment process focused on Ryhänen’s strong leadership experience, strategic vision and diverse expertise in different asset classes. Before becoming interim CIO, Ryhänen led Elo’s allocation and alternative investments unit.

Alistair Russell-Smith at Spence and Partners

Alistair Russell-Smith at Spence & Partners

Spence & Partners – The provider of pensions advisory and data services to pensions schemes in the UK has appointed Alistair Russell-Smith to lead the firm’s corporate practice and the public sector, charities and not-for-profit practice.

Russell-Smith is a practising scheme actuary and has more than 20 years of experience as an actuary working for defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) pension schemes. In his new role, he will provide advice for pension scheme trustees, employers and third-sector bodies on all aspects of pension provision.

Before joining Spence, Russell-Smith was a partner and head of corporate DB pensions at Hymans Robertson – a position he held since 2018, having joined the business in 2000. He also led Hymans’ third sector offering and has extensive experience working with clients in the not-for-profit sector. His work focused on funding and de-risking solutions, benefit strategy, and more sector-specific issues like managing participation in multi-employer pension schemes.

In recent years, he has advised corporates on DB consolidation options including transferring to commercial consolidators and DB master trusts. He also worked with corporates on their DB funding approaches in light of the new DB funding regime.

Russell-Smith has been a fellow of the Institute of Actuaries since 2004. He will be joining Spence’s London office. He has been appointed to replace David Davison, who is set to retire at the end of January 2024. Davison entered the pensions industry in 1985 and established the Glasgow office for Spence & Partners when he joined the firm in 2004. He was a co-owner and director of the business and also established, and led, the corporate and the public sector, charity and not-for-profit practices since 2006.

KevaJuho Rahkonen has been chosen by Finland’s largest pension fund as its new research manager, and is moving to Keva from his current job of director of the E2 research institute.

Keva said the research manager works as part of a research team that carries out studies related to working life, using the research to reduce the risk of incapacity for work, and manage work ability in cooperation with Keva’s customer organisations.

Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM)Pontus Grönlund has been hired as deputy head of Nordics Institutional at LGIM as part of the firm’s efforts to strengthen its Nordics team. He is based at the asset manager’s Stockholm office and, in the newly-created role, reports to Anders Årjes, LGIM’s head of Nordics.

Before joining LGIM, Grönlund worked as an investment manager and head of research at Altocumulus Asset Management.

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