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People moves: USS expands private markets team

USS, Stap, LSE, AXA IM, BNY Mellon, Northern Trust, Putnam Investments, Xafinity, William Blair, MSCI, LuxFLAG

USS Investment Management – The private markets team of the UK’s largest pension scheme has three more senior members and a new head of direct private equity, with Rob Horsnall promoted to the latter, a new role.

Bob Hewson, Craig McAllister and Rob Brindley have joined the private markets as investment managers in private equity, real assets, and private credit and special situations respectively. McAllister joined in April, and Hornsall and Hewson in October. Hewson had previously been at Alchemy for 10 years, and Brindley joined from Commerzbank, where he was head of strategic asset finance.

USS said the creation of the role of head of direct private equity “reflects a continuing shift towards direct investments and an increased focus on applying USS’s long-term capital to acquire market leading businesses with the capability to provide sustainable income or growth over the long-term”. Its private markets team has 40 staff. 

Mike Powell, head of private markets group at USS, said: “The continued growth of our direct investment programme is core to our investment belief that the in-house team can deliver superior after-cost risk-adjusted returns, and bring additional benefits for our members in terms of alignment of interests and greater governance over our investments.”

Stap APFErno Kleijnenberg has announced that he will resign as chairman of the general pension fund (APF) Stap, established by insurer Aegon and pensions provider TKP Pensioen, part of Aegon Group. Last year, Stap was the first APF to receive a licence from supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB).

As several pension funds have joined Stap, and managed assets by the new pensions vehicle have already increased to roughly €2bn, his work has changed and is now less easy to combine with other activities, Kleijnenberg explained. Stap said it would name Kleijnenberg’s successor as soon as the appointment was approved by DNB.

London Stock Exchange – CEO Xavier Rolet is to leave the London Stock Exchange Group by the end of next year. The exchange will seek to appoint a successor within the next 12 months with Rolet’s input. He joined from Lehman Brothers in 2009 and has led the company’s expansion both in services offered and market capitalisation.

AXA Investment Managers – Alessandro Tentori has been appointed chief investment officer for Italy, based in Milan. He joins from Citigroup in London, were he spent five years as managing director and head of international interest rates strategy. Before that he was chief strategist for Europe at BNP Paribas. 

BNY Mellon – Rob Rushe has joined the company as European ETF segment executive. He was previously at State Street, where he was managing director and EMEA head of exchange traded fund servicing. He was at State Street for seven years and before that at Bank of Ireland and Northern Trust for 12 years. 

Northern Trust – Herman Prummel has been named country manager for the Netherlands by asset manager Northern Trust. Prummel joins from BlackRock, where he was chief operating officer for the Netherlands, North America and the Isle of Man. At Northern Trust, he succeeds Wim van Ooijen, who has recently been appointed as head of the company’s activities in Switzerland, while remaining head of operations in Germany.

Putnam Investments – Oliver Grimson has joined the firm as director of investment management for the Nordics and Benelux regions, with responsibility for leading the firm’s work with institutional clients in the area. Grimson is based in London. Before joining Putnam, Grimson was client relationship manager in the EMEA institutional sales team for Dimensional Fund Advisors in London from 2011 to 2017. He began his career as an investment analyst for Xafinity Consulting in the UK.

Xafinity Group – The UK consulting and administration group has hired Mark Barlow from PwC as an actuary in its pensions business. At PwC he worked on the pensions aspects of RBS’s work to ring-fence the bank, Xafinity said. 

William Blair  Stephanie Braming has been appointed global head of the company’s investment management business. She was most recently a portfolio manager for the William Blair International Small Cap Growth and International Growth strategies, with responsibility for nearly $20bn (€17bn) of client assets. She has been with William Blair since 2004 and was previously a principal at Mercer Investment Consulting. 

MSCI ESG Research – Panos Seretis has joined the company as executive director and head of ESG research in EMEA, based in London. He joined from Credit Suisse where he was responsible for fundamental equity analysis based on “HOLT” methodology for European banks, consumer staples and real estate companies. Before Credit Suisse, Seretis worked at Procter & Gamble and General Electric.  

Luxembourg Finance Labelling Agency (LuxFLAG) – Mario Mantrisi will take over from Annemarie Arens as general manager in January 2018. LuxFLAG operates labels for responsible investment financial products that currently cover investment products worth €31bn. Mantrisi was previously at  Kneip and Inreg, which he co-founded. 

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