EUROPE - Judy Saunders, former chief investment officer at the West Midlands Pension Fund, has joined Man Group as a senior adviser.

Saunders is to serve as a consultant to the alternative fund manager's UK institutional team.

Paul Dackombe, head of UK institutional sales, said Saunders' experience at West Midlands would help "tailor and improve" Man's UK offering.

"Her appointment as a senior adviser is testament to the strength of our commitment to the UK institutional market and, in particular, local government pension schemes, which represent a significant part of our institutional client strategy," he said.

Earlier this year, IPE reported that West Midlands was looking to revamp its leadership structure as part of a wider redundancy plan, leading to the elimination of a number of key roles. The role of chief investment officer was one of the positions at risk.

A West Midlands spokesman told IPE the fund's new director, Geik Drever - former head of the Lothian Pension Fund - had taken over Saunders' responsibilities as CIO and was overseeing the fund's investment strategy.

Saunders held her position at West Midlands for seven years and was responsible for developing the £8.7bn (€10.8bn) scheme's investment strategy.

She said she felt her experience at West Midlands would be particularly valuable at Man.

"Diversification has become an increasingly important element of a pension fund's investment strategy, and this will increase given the recent behaviour of the markets and the lower returns environment," she said.