Nico Aspinall, the chief investment officer of the People’s Pension, is set to join Connected Asset Management to lead its sustainable investment strategy.

A fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, Aspinall headed up global investment at B&CE, the not-for-profit provider of £15bn (€17.6bn) defined contribution (DC) master trust The People’s Pension, from 2017.

Before that he briefly worked as an independent consultant after having been head of UK DC investment consulting at Willis Towers Watson, where he designed and implemented the investment proposition for the Lifesight master trust. 

Founded in 2019, Connected describes itself as a fast growing company “uniquely placed to bridge the gap between impact investment firms and pension funds”. It is due to launch a new identity next month.

Announcing Aspinall’s appointment, it said it has plans to develop an “industry-leading framework to allow DC pension schemes to invest in sustainable British businesses operating in sectors such as clean energy, social housing and tech for good as well as global investment initiatives such as microfinance”.

Photo of Nico Aspinall, People's Pension CIO

Nico Aspinall, incoming CIO of Connected Asset Management

Darren Agombar, Connected founder and CEO, said Aspinall was “an astonishingly brilliant appointment” for the firm.

“His deep working knowledge of managing DC pension investment strategies at the highest level will be critical for Connected as we develop and deliver an entirely sustainable solution to long-term investment for the UK pensions industry.”

Aspinall said he was excited to have the opportunity “to shape the future of sustainable investment for pension funds with Connected”.

“It is no longer enough just to be good at managing finance to the exclusion of everything else,” he said. “We have to find another way to deploy capital, make it work harder and deliver a better outcome for investors and the planet.”

Aspinall will replace Gustave Rieunier, Connected’s current CIO, who will move to the newly-created role of chief operating officer.

Agombar is co-founder of UK DC pension provider Smart Pension, for which Connected provides asset management services.

Last month Connected acquired the UK’s “tech for good” venture capital firm Bethnal Green Ventures, a move it says is part of its plan to deploy UK pension capital to support successful British firms operating in the impact sector.

Prime minister Boris Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak recently called on UK pension funds to invest more in long-term UK assets such as green infrastructure.

B&CE recently hired Jon Cunliffe, CIO of wealth manager Charles Stanley, for the new position of investment managing director. He is responsible for the overall performance of the investment business unit, working alongside the CIO, who will retain responsibility for client investment strategy.

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