Man Group hires UK pensions CIO

Handshake 3A former pension fund CIO has been hired by hedge fund firm Man Group on a consultancy basis.

Judy Saunders has been appointed a senior advisor for the firm’s UK institutional team.

Saunders spent seven years as CIO at the West Midlands Pension Fund, which has £8.7 billion (€10.8 billion) of assets.

At West Midlands, which is a UK local authority pension fund, she considerably reduced the pension scheme’s allocation to quoted equities and increased its alternatives allocation to 35%, which included a 10% portfolio of absolute return strategies that was implemented in response to increasingly volatile markets.

Paul Dackombe, head of UK institutional sales at Man, said the appointment reflected Man’s commitment to the UK institutional market and in particular to the Local Government Pension Scheme, which represents a significant part of Man’s institutional client strategy.

Saunders said: “Diversification has become an increasingly important element of a pension fund’s investment strategy and I believe this will increase given the recent behaviour of the markets and the lower returns environment.”

She added that alternative investment houses will play a “crucial role” in this process.

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