The investment management arm for Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), one of the UK’s largest pension funds with £67.6bn (€75.9bn) in assets under management, has created the new role of head of strategic equities and appointed Innes McKeand to it.

He joins from Australian Super, where he was head of equities, and is expected to take up his role at USS at the end of March.

The new position at USS Investment Management follows a major overhaul of the firm’s approach to investing in developed markets, as announced last year when it said its internal developed markets equities team would close.

McKeand will oversee the existing teams that focus on global emerging markets equities and responsible investments as well as the firm’s approach to using quantitative techniques in equities strategies, USS said.

McKeand is also expected to establish a new global equities team.

Through this new role and revamped strategy, USS Investment Management will be able to construct portfolios that will “provide attractive risk-adjusted returns relative to its long-term liabilities, taking account of the other assets held across both public and private markets”, it said.

As such, the asset management arm will move away from conventional market-cap weighted benchmarks, taking instead an approach with longer-term themes, including responsible investment-related strategies.

Simon Pilcher, CEO of USS Investment Management, said McKeand is “ideally suited” to creating such long-term equities strategy, having worked in the sector for more than three decades, of which the last nine were based in Melbourne working for Australian Super running a A$115bn (€72bn) equities portfolio.

The firm said that it is anticipated that, over time, the current £11.4bn portfolio overseen by transition manager BlackRock will be taken back in house. The portfolio invests in Japan, the US, the UK and Europe.

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