Man hires UK pension CIO as institutional interest in hedge funds grows

Man Group has enlisted a former chief investment officer from a UK public pension to advise its UK institutional team and help it cater for British pensions, which more than doubled money in the industry in just two years.

Man is engaging Judy Saunders, who worked for seven years as CIO of the £8.7bn West Midlands Pension Fund, to be a senior advisor for its UK institutional team.

Paul Dackombe, head of UK institutional sales at Man said: “Judy’s experience at the West Midlands Pension Fund will prove invaluable in tailoring and improving our ability to meet client needs in the UK.”

UK pensions grew their hedge fund allocations from 1.8% to 4.1% between 2009 and 2011, according to the National Association of Pension Funds. Furthermore a global survey by service provider SEI found the portion of institutional investors planning further investments in the industry (38%) was more than double the portion planning to cut their exposure (15%).

Saunders (pictured) has experience of growing a hedge fund allocation at West Midlands. During her tenure as CIO she cut the allocation to quoted equities and rotated into alternatives, building the allocation to 35%, including 10% in absolute return strategies.

She 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.”

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