1/23/2013 07:21:29 AM

Top Pension Takes Fund Manager Hiring Spree

Bringing pension assets – and staff – in-house is the way forward for one major British company.

(January 23, 2013) -- One of the few company-run, open defined benefit pension funds in the UK has raided some of the largest asset managers in London for new hires to run its money, aiCIO has learnt.

Tesco Pension Investment (TPI), which had £6 billion in assets at the end of March last year, has hired several people to its asset management team over the last five months, according to the FSA Register.

Tesco is one of the leading grocers and general retailers in the UK and one of the few large, listed companies to offer its staff a defined benefit pension.

The latest hire is Stephanie Niven, who joined the team from boutique manager Javelin this month. She is a global equity specialist and spent three years at the boutique after four years at Goldman Sachs as an equity analyst, her LinkedIn profile details.

Steven Daniels, CIO of the pension fund and one of aiCIO's Power 100, was appointed less than a year ago to build the in-house team for the company. He told aiCIO last summer that the fund's aim was to manage 65% to 70% of its assets internally by 2013, which meant bringing execution in-house, too.

Daniels started the run on the City of London with the appointment of Legal & General Investment Management's Ian King to manage its equity portfolio in April last year. King brought several staff with him.

Today, Daniels told aiCIO: “TPI's development is continuing well and we have hired an experienced team of seven equity managers, led by Ian King. The team has established a global equity process which has been live since December last year. This builds on the tactical asset allocation and real estate mandates that we have held since the middle of 2012.

"Jon Cunliffe has recently joined TPI as the head of bonds and strategy and is now starting to build his process and team. During 2013 we intend to bring significantly more of the scheme’s assets in-house,” Daniels added. 

The pension fund has also appointed Paul Allison, who was previously an equity manager at F&C Asset Management and employed by the BAE Pension fund; Dominic Baker, who spent over a decade at Threadneedle Investments; Richard Falle, who was a European fund manager at LV Asset Management for almost four years; Richard Winbourne, who spent over five years at Sarasin Partners; and Owen Thomas, who spent over four years at Aviva Investors.

The move pushes forward a trend in Europe for large pension funds to bring staff in-house, which began amid the wreckage of the financial crisis.

Last summer Heath Mottram, who at the time was head of fiduciary management (UK) at the consulting arm of Russell Investments, told aiCIO: "Internal teams are being beefed up and there is increased specialism within them, which highlights the recognition of the complexity involved with current investment strategies and the necessary resources that go with it."
Mottram has since moved to the Universities Superannuation Fund, which is also continuing to build its internal team.

Related content: We Don't Use Asset Managers, We Are One.

Contact the writer of this story:Elizabeth PfeutiElizabeth PfeutiEuropean Editor, aiCIO(44) 207 397 3816epfeuti@assetinternational.comFollow on Twitter at @ai_CIO