RPMI Railpen chief executive Chris Hitchen is the new non-executive chair of Border to Coast Pensions Partnership (BCPP), one of the UK’s emerging public pension asset pools.

The pool is set to combine the assets of 12 local government pension schemes (LGPS) across England, totalling roughly £43bn (€48bn).

Hitchen, who is due to leave RPMI Railpen in the next 12 months, will lead BCPP’s board and take responsibility for appointing a senior management team and non-executive directors.

“Together we will create an investing institution of genuine scale with the capacity to deliver over the long term to its sponsoring authorities, employers, members and taxpayers,” Hitchen said. “That’s what we have been doing at RPMI on behalf of railway employers and members for many years, and so I welcome the creation of all the local authority pooling arrangements, of which Border to Coast will be one of the biggest.”

Hitchen has led the £25bn industry-wide scheme for UK railway companies for 13 years, having first joined the group nearly 20 years ago.

He is an influential figure in the UK pensions sector. He chaired the National Association of Pension Funds – now the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association – from 2007 to 2009, as part of a decade-long tenure with the trade body.

During that time he helped establish the Pensions Quality Mark, a kitemark standard for UK defined contribution (DC) funds.

In addition, Hitchen was a trustee of NEST, the government’s DC master trust, from 2010 to 2015, and chaired its investment committee for three years.

John Weighell, chair of the North Yorkshire Pension Fund, one of BCPP’s founding members, said: “Chris is highly respected within the industry and has a wealth of experience and accomplishments, including having transformed Railpen… into a very successful asset management company. His knowledge, enthusiasm and vision will be invaluable to BCPP.”

BCPP’s members include the Bedfordshire, Cumbria, Durham, East Riding, Lincolnshire, Northumberland, North Yorkshire, Surrey, South Yorkshire, Teesside, Tyne and Wear and Warwickshire LGPS funds.