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£43bn public pension pool Border to Coast adds to senior team

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Border to Coast Pensions Partnership has launched the search for a permanent head of external investment capabilities as it seeks to build up its senior team.

Former Aviva CIO Graham Long has been carrying out the role on an interim basis since joining the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) collaboration in March on a short-term contract.

Border to Coast had from the outset intended to carry out a full recruitment process for the permanent role, according to Rachel Elwell, CEO for the pensions partnership.

Elwell told IPE the company hoped to announce its permanent chief investment officer and head of research later this summer. John Harrison joined the pool as interim CIO in February.

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Separately, the company has hired Jane Firth as head of responsible investment. She formally joined Border to Coast at the beginning of July, moving from South Yorkshire Pensions Authority, where she had been a portfolio manager for more than 25 years.

She had already been working closely with Border to Coast and its other partner LGPS funds for around 18 months before transferring to the pension partnership, Elwell said.

Firth remains Border to Coast’s cross-pool representative on responsible investment, but stepped down from her role on the executive committee of the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) to focus on her role at the LGPS pool. Chris Hitchen, chair of Border to Coast, was recently voted onto the LAPFF executive.  

Long was previously CIO at Aviva UK Life from 2015 to 2017, as part of which he managed the transition of around £60bn (€67bn) of assets to the group’s in-house manager after the acquisition of Friends Life.

Border to Coast brings together 12 LGPS funds – Bedfordshire, Cumbria, Durham, East Riding, Lincolnshire, Northumberland, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Surrey, Teesside, Tyne & Wear, and Warwickshire – with £43bn of assets between them. It opened to investment last month with £7bn worth of assets in its first two funds.

It recently signed up to the LGPS’s cost transparency code, becoming the third of the UK’s eight asset pools to do so.

“As a customer-owned and customer-focused organisation, Border to Coast is committed to providing clear, concise and fully transparent reporting to its customers and other stakeholders,” it said.

Brunel Pension Partnership and LPP Investments have also signed up to the code.

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