SDI AOP, APG, PGGM, AXA IM, Railpen, Elo, Summa Equity, Publica, ITS, Aon, Neuberger Berman, Amundi, FCA, Cambridge Associates

SDI Asset Owner Platform (SDI AOP) – The group, founded by APG and PGGM two years ago, has appointed James Leaton  as a reserach director.

He will play “a crucial role in developing the platform and its product offering”, according to a statement by APG.

The SDI AOP aims to map the investments of its members, which also include AustralianSuper, British Columbia Investment Management and Dutch pension fund PGB, against the Sustainable Development Goals.

“I look forward to working with the asset owners to ensure their members are getting the credible investment solutions and impacts they are looking for and can together set a global reference point for investing into the SDGs,” said Leaton.

Leaton, who has 25 years of experience in the field of sustainability, joins from Moody’s Investors Services, where he was head of climate risk research. Previously, he worked as research director at the Carbon Tracker Initiative.

AXA Investment Managers  – The €869bn asset manager has reorganised its Northern European operations – it has merged its UK, Netherlands and Nordic divisions into one entity headed by John Stainsby, head of UK client group since 2016. The reorganisation was effected in June, but had not been made public.

Hanneke Veringa, country manager Netherlands for the firm, has left AXA IM as her role became redundant following the reshuffle. She is currently on gardening leave.

AXA IM said in a statement the merger of its Northern European operations into a single hub makes sense because the different markets have much in common.

Hans Stoter, head of AXA IM Core, said: “We see synergy advantages in our services to institutional clients and in the management of client portfolios.” According to Stoter, setting up a regional Northern European cluster enables the local teams to “better make use of experiences from other countries when servicing clients”.

Railpen  – The £35bn railways pension schemes’ management firm has appointed Ellen Watson-Hicks  as its first chief risk and compliance officer.

Watson-Hicks has a wealth of experience as a qualified accountant with over 20 years working in financial services. She joined Railpen from the Universities Superannuation Scheme  (USS), where she was head of enterprise risk. Before that, she held various roles in TP ICAP, Tullett Prebon, Nomura International PLC and Aviva.

This executive committee appointment comes as Railpen establishes its new risk function.

Watson-Hicks said: “Some excellent work has been done to create a robust risk management framework, which I look forward to helping Railpen embed throughout the business.”

John Chilman, Railpen CEO, said: “Ellen’s appointment is an important part of our commitment to identifying and managing risk in a complex environment. We are very pleased to be welcoming her to the business, with the knowledge that her extensive experience will be crucial in helping us to deliver on our purpose, to secure our members’ future.”

Anna Varpula at Elo

Anna Varpula, Elo

Elo  – Anna Varpula has been appointed as the new director of responsible investment at Finnish earnings-related pension provider Elo. She joins the mutual pensions insurance company from her previous position as responsible investment specialist at Finland’s Savings Bank Group (Säästöpankkiryhmä) – which consists of 18 independent regional and local savings banks – where she has worked since February 2019.

Prior to this, Varpula worked for The State Pension Fund of Finland (VER) for nearly five years, as a responsible investment adviser.

Elo said in its announcement of her appointment that Varpula took up her new job on 11 October, and was reporting to the firm’s CIO Hannah Hiidenpalo.

Summa Equity - Christoph WaerTim He and Matthias Fink have been appointed as new partners at the Nordic private equity firm. Summa Equity said the hiring of the three senior staff was aimed at driving growth across its three investment themes, as well as expanding its European presence by opening an office in Munich.

Waer is to be based in Belgium, focusing on Summa Equity’s changing demographics theme, according to the announcement, and targeting companies in the healthcare and life sciences sectors. Summa Equity said Waer previously, as CIO, managed the life science activities for Korys – the investment company of the Colruyt family, based in Halle, Belgium.

Tim He will work within Summa Equity’s “tech-enabled transformation” theme, the firm said, focusing on its growth investment strategy, with his base being in Stockholm. He joins the firm from his current role as CIO at Swedish investment firm Kinnevik, and also serves on the supervisory board of cloud-based banking platform Lunar in Denmark.

Summa Equity said new partner Fink, meanwhile, would start in November and would lead its operations in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, focusing on its resource efficiency and tech-enabled transformation themes.

Fink’s most recent role is partner of the Riverside Company, where he worked in the investment firm’s Munich office. Prior to this, Fink also worked as a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group.

Publica  – Marcel Wüthrich  has been elected as new president of the assembly of delegates for the Swiss pension fund Publica. Wüthrich serves as an actuary in the risk management department of the federal pensions regulator Oberaufsichtskommission (OAK BV). He has been a member of the assembly of delegates at Publica since 2017.

Wüthrich succeeds Valentin Lagger, who was elected as employee representative at the pension fund in May. The assembly of delegates includes 80 members. The pension scheme members elect the assembly of delegates every four years. The delegates’ most important task is the election of employee representatives taking a seat in the board of directors.

Independent Trustee Services  (ITS) – Independent Trustee Limited (ITL) will be joining ITS’s group of companies from January 2022, with ITL head Ian Pittaway  joining as trustee director.

Pittaway is a qualified lawyer, fully accredited professional pension trustee and senior partner at Sackers for the last 16 years, where he also led ITL. He is also a former chair and secretary of the Association of Pension Lawyers and a former chair of the Association of Professional Pension Trustees (APPT).

He is chair or trustee to several pension funds including a leading master trust and has a strong appreciation of the issues faced by trustee boards and sponsors, speaking widely, and writing numerous articles for the professional and national press.

Aon  – Johan Forsgård has been appointed by consultancy Aon as chief executive officer of its activities in the Nordic region. Forsgård will be leaving one of Aon’s closest competitors, Willis Towers Watson, to take up the role. He is currently head of Nordics there, having worked for the company for 16 years, including as CEO for Sweden, according to Aon.

Forsgård will not be joining Aon for a while, however, as he is scheduled to start the new job in the fourth quarter of 2022. Aon said its current CEO for Denmark and Nordic chief operating officer, Allan Karlsen, would continue to head up the region, along with its Nordic leadership team, for the next year.

Michelle Dunne at Neuberger Berman

Michelle Dunne, Neuberger Berman

Neuberger Berman – Michelle Dunne has joined the consultant coverage leadership team as a managing director at Neuberger Berman. She will partner with Jamie Wong to lead the consultant efforts across EMEA, working closely with their counterpart in North America, Lesley Nurse.

Dunne has 25 years of experience and joins from BlackRock where she was head of global consultant relations (EMEA) responsible for the development and execution of alternatives strategies for global, local and specialist consultants across the region. She has held various roles at BlackRock focused on alternative investment sales for institutional investors. She also spent time at Credit Suisse, Pioneer Global Investments and Goldman Sachs.

Dik van Lomwel, head of EMEA and Latin America at Neuberger Berman, said: “Investment consultants continue to grow in importance as an increasingly broad set of institutions face complex investment challenges. I am delighted that someone with Michelle’s pedigree and deep understanding of the institutional market is joining our team.”

Amundi – Nicolò Foscari has joined Amundi as head of multi-asset insurance and risk solutions, outsourced CIO solutions. He will also be developing OCIO solutions for insurance clients outside the group and family offices. He reports to the head of outsourced CIO solutions division Laurent Tignard. The role is based in Milan.

Foscari joins from Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in New York, where he was senior investment officer – outsourced CIO since May 2016.

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)Charles Randell is planning to step down as chair of the UK regulator in the spring of 2022, the FCA has announced.

“As the FCA prepares to implement its new wholesale, retail and data strategies under an established new executive, now is the right time for a new chair to carry on the close and continuous oversight of our transformation,” he said.

“During the pandemic, the FCA stood up for consumers and businesses, while the markets we oversee proved resilient, laying the foundations for record capital raising to support the recovery.”

The FCA recently established a multi-year transformation programme to become a more proactive, data-led and forward-looking regulator, with increased supervision of asset manager ESG fund presentation part of the agenda.

Cambridge Associates – Melinda Wright  has joined the firm as global head of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). In this newly established role, Wright will work alongside Cambridge’s leadership to increase the organization’s diverse representation both internally and industry-wide, drive the firm’s agenda on talent planning and leadership development, and further integrate the organization’s DEI work across the business.

Wright will report to the firm’s CEO, David Druley, as a member of the executive leadership team. She brings years of experience as an educator, lawyer and diversity strategist to the organization. She joins from the Walton Family Foundation where she elevated diversity and equity as key factors in the foundation’s investment strategy and grant making.

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