The collective investment vehicle (CIV) backed by most of London’s £24bn (€32.8bn) local government pension schemes (LGPS) has appointed Hugh Grover as its chief executive and will shortly begin recruiting a senior executive in charge of investments.
Grover, who has overseen the development of the CIV on behalf of local authority association London Councils, told IPE a total of five vacancies would need to be filled – three non-executive director positions and the roles of investment oversight director and COO.
He said the role of investment oversight director would not be that of a traditional CIO but focus more on “oversight and facilitation”, working with the local authority schemes as they allocate to the CIV.
Additionally, the CIV will also be recruiting a COO and three non-executive directors who, in addition to Grover and the investment oversight director, will form the vehicle’s six-strong board.
One of the three non-executive directors hired will also be asked to chair the board.
Grover declined to disclose what the CIV’s first investment would be but said there were a number of discussions with asset managers underway.
He has previously said he hoped the CIV would make its first investment by June of this year, while at least one local authority decided to defer investing in infrastructure until the fund is operational.
Discussions began in earnest in 2013 to launch a CIV for London’s 33 local authority schemes, as it was seen as an alternative to the full merger the UK government was weighing up in order to achieve economies of scale and reduce management costs.
The government eventually distanced itself from the idea of full mergers after industry resistance and last year launched a consultation on a shift away from active management.
It failed to make any progress on the reform ahead of the UK general election, a fact a high-ranking civil servant blamed on “tensions” between several government departments.
Jules Piper, chair at London Councils, praised Grover and said the vehicle had already been successful in reducing costs.
He said it would lead to “significant” savings while leaving discretion over investment decisions with individual London boroughs.
Grover, prior to being named CIV programme director last October, spent nearly six years as policy director at London Councils and a further five as deputy director within the Department for Communities and Local Government.