AXA IM, CEPB, Osmosis, GMO, Capital Cranfield, Pensions for Purpose, Hymans Robertson, Generali, Dimensional Fund Advisors

EIOPA – The European supervisory authority for the insurance and pension fund sectors has launched the search for new chairperson, as Gabriel Bernardino will have finished the second of a maximum two terms in March next year. Bernardino is the first chairperson of EIOPA, having been elected by the board of supervisors in January 2011. 

The EIOPA committee working on the “pre-selection” of Bernardino’s successor comprises: Thomas Schmitz-Lippert (chair); Else Bos; Alberto Corinti; and John Berrigan

AXA Investment Managers (AXA IM) – The asset manager has hired Marco Morelli, previously CEO of Italian bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena, as executive chair for its asset management business and a member of AXA’s management committee.

Reporting to Thomas Buberl, CEO of AXA, he will take up his position on 14 September, shortly before Gérald Harlin, AXA’s deputy CEO and current executive chair of AXA IM, will retire. Harlin will remain a member of AXA IM’s board of directors. Harlin postponed his retirement last year to take over the leadership of AXA IM.

Thanking Harlin, Buberl said he and his teams had given AXA IM “a new impetus by putting in place a new organisation that is better adapted to its future development”.

“On a personal note, I would like to reiterate that I feel particularly privileged to have worked with him,” added Buberl. “I am very happy that Marco is joining AXA. His 36 years of experience in banking and financial services, extensive knowledge of European markets and proven leadership will be key assets to further develop AXA IM.”

Church of England Pensions Board (CEPB) – CEPB is seeking to hire a chief innestment officer to replace Pierre Jameson who left in February. The board has advertised the position online and interested prospects have 15 days to apply for the position.

The board stated that the CIO position has a crucial role and accountability in strategy, stewarding the pension funds and the board’s charitable investments, working with the investment committee, colleagues in the investment team and the CEO.

“This role is as much about managing investment risk as it is about delivering excellent investment performance,” it said.

With responsibility for leading and managing the investment function of the CEPB – with around £2.8bn (€3bn) in assets under management – the CIO will ensure that investments deliver the performance and risk profiles required to meet the needs of the board’s schemes and charitable functions “while demonstrating the highest standards of responsible and ethical investing, reflecting the board’s contribution to the wider Church,” it added.

Capital Cranfield – The independent trustee firm has appointed Michele Hirons-Wood as a professional trustee. Hirons-Wood is a well-known industry figure who has been the head of pensions at UK Power Networks since 2011.

Managing director Neil McPherson said: “Michele is another very high calibre addition to the Capital Cranfield team. She has a strong reputation and is a fully accredited professional trustee with several years of trustee and chairing experience to her credit. We are delighted that she has chosen to work with us”.

Michele Hirons-Wood said: “With the difficulties facing so many sponsoring employers the role of a professional trustee has never been more important and I am excited to be developing my career as a professional trustee with Capital Cranfield.”

She added: “Being able to overlay my direct trustee experience with the insight gained from working for a major sponsoring employer gives me a rounded perspective that will work to the benefit of my clients and their members”.

Osmosis Investment Management The sustainable investment specialist has appointed industry veteran Mike O’Brien as special advisor to its asset management business.

He was previously CEO for the EMEA region at JP Morgan Asset Management’s and co-head of its global investment solutions business. He joined JPMAM from BlackRock in 2010, a year after it acquired BGI, where he had been for several years.

O’Brien also spent 14 years overseeing the UK and European investment consulting practice of what was then Towers Perrin. O’Brien is an advisor to the UK’s Pension Protection Fund investment committee.

Ben Dear, Osmosis CEO, said: “We are delighted to have attracted such a notable industry talent. Mike’s commitment to the firm further endorses our objective and pragmatic approach to sustainable investment. His track record and experience of managing and developing relationships with sophisticated investors globally will add significant value, helping to expand our client base and further scale the company.”

Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo (GMO) – The global investment manager has added to its management team and has also agreed to acquire fundamental, value-oriented Japan equity management firm Usonian Investments.

Roy Henriksson will join GMO in October as head of investment risk and trading, a newly-created role in which he will provide risk oversight across all GMO investment and trading activities while also contributing to the firm’s quantitative research efforts. Henriksson was most recently CIO at QMA.

George Sakoulis will rejoin GMO in August as head of investment teams, having previously been a senior member of the GMO emerging markets equity team from 2009 until 2014. He will oversee all of GMO’s investment teams outside of the asset allocation team, which is led by Ben Inker. Previously, Sakoulis was managing director and head of global multi-asset solutions at QMA.

Sakoulis succeeds Andy Martin, who will take on a new role as head of investment product strategy, in which he will be responsible for driving product strategy and overseeing efforts to find new alpha opportunities for the firm.

“GMO has a deep history of benefitting our clients by pursuing contrarian strategies and taking advantage of significant market uncertainties. With George and Roy joining Ben and Andy in investment leadership, we are adding complementary expertise to our already strong team, and the acquisition of Usonian brings another differentiated alpha source to our clients,” said Scott Hayward, GMO CEO.

In addition to these new hires, GMO has made a couple of additional hires to its management team will bolster leadership in key areas of the firm. Carolyn Haley has been named to a new role as head of operations, finance, and fund treasury and tax, assuming oversight of these functions from Jean-Pierre Mittaz, who is transitioning from chief operating officer to a role as a senior advisor.

Hylton Socher joined GMO in January 2020 as chief technology officer, a new role that reflects the importance of technology throughout the organization, from investing and managing operations to partnering with clients.

As for the acquisition of Usonian Investments, a fundamental, value-oriented Japan equity manager, portfolio manager Drew Edwards will lead teh new business. Usonian manages more than $1bn for several premier institutions, investing through deep research and proactive engagement with management to enhance corporate value.

The Usonian strategy will be available as a new standalone offering for GMO clients and a complementary investment within GMO asset allocation portfolios.

Pensions for PurposeCharlotte Tyrwhitt-Drake has been hired to support the platform’s work to help pension funds develop their interest in investing to achieve positive social and environmental impacts. She has more than 14 years of experience working with well-known investment managers, and a consultant, including Jupiter Asset Management, Pictet Asset Management and Cambridge Associates.

Tyrwhitt-Drake will work with Pensions for Purpose alongside her consulting business Impact Challenger Ltd.

Karen Shackleton, founder of Pensions for Purpose, said: “We have been encouraged to observe the continued growth in interest in impact investment through the pandemic, with a steady stream of new pension funds approaching us for help in articulating their investment beliefs.”

She added that Tyrwhitt-Drake “will focus on delivering our services to corporate pension funds as well as supporting the platform more generally by bringing her valuable experience to our work.”

Hymans RobertsonShireen Anisuddin has taken on the role of managing partner from James Entwisle. Anisuddin joined Hymans Robertson in 2009 and has held various leadership responsibilities within the firm, including head of commercial group, head of clients and London actuarial practice leader.

After 10 years in the role, Entwisle, who has been with the firm since 2002, has decided that it is time to leave the firm to work on projects to address poverty and exclusion in his local community and in India, where he’s been involved in an initiative for 18 years. He will remain with the firm until March 2021.

Generali Investments Partners (GIP) – The firm has appointed Tim Rainsford as global head of sales. In this role, he will be responsible for defining the commercial development plans and strategies aimed at strengthening Generali Investments’ positioning in key markets, as well as growing its international footprint by expanding into new geographies.

In his new position, effective as of 1 September, Rainsford will report to Carlo Trabattoni, CEO of GIP, and will lead a global team of sales professionals based in Italy, France and Germany.

Rainsford brings to GIP more than 20 years of experience in senior roles in the asset management industry and an authoritative expertise in customer relationship management, gained by globally coordinating international sales, marketing and client service teams.

Before joining GIP, Rainsford was group head of distribution and marketing at GAM Investments, with the responsibility for the company’s marketing and sales strategic direction. He previously spent 13 years at Man Investments, covering positions of growing responsibility including senior managing director and head of European sales, and global co-head of sales and marketing.

Dimensional Fund Advisors – Joel Kim has been named CEO of the systematic factor investor’s Asia ex Japan business, effective August 2020. Steve Clark, president of Dimensional International, has been overseeing the firm’s Asia ex Japan business. Kim joined Dimensional in 2016 in Singapore as a senior portfolio manager and most recently served as head of fixed income, international, in the firm’s London office. Before joining Dimensional he was head of Asia Pacific fixed income for BlackRock, Singapore.