The Pension Fund
The West Yorkshire Pension Fund has a good reputation and is highly regarded throughout the industry. It is one of the biggest funds within the Local Government Pension Scheme, has grown its membership, increased the number of funds it administers and has an enviable track record of successful investment growth. This is a rare role leading a successful, forward-looking and national profile pension fund.
The West Yorkshire Pension Fund operates on behalf of the five West Yorkshire council’s, hosted by Bradford Council. The WYPF has about 423 employers within it, and about 300k members and £18bn of our own invested funds. Our low administrative costs combined with the quality of our services have underpinned our success in growing the number of other Pension Funds we administer. These now include 22 Fire Authorities, the London Boroughs of Hounslow and Barnet, and Lincolnshire CC. This means our total administrative membership is around 500k members and more than 800 different employers.
With regards to our pension investments, the WYPF is part of the Northern Pool. Unlike other local government pension scheme funds, the WYPF makes most of its £18bn investments directly. We therefore have some of the lowest administrative and investment costs amongst the LGPS, whilst still delivering consistently good returns. Our success means we are seen as influential leaders in the market.
We recently enhanced our senior management within the organisation, appointing an AD to lead on Alternative Investments and creating a new Deputy Director, again with a focus on investment oversight. We’re now looking for a new Director to continue our success.
Priorities for the Director
This role is about evolution not revolution. We don’t need radical change, but rather are seeking continuing, ongoing improvement, delivery and sustainable success in a rapidly changing environment. Key priorities for the new Director will be:
- Keeping our five member local authorities fully informed, engaged with and connected to our future direction, whilst also keeping our 500,000 members fully informed and well-served.
- Staying on top of the ESG agenda, which is increasingly important to our future investments and ongoing success.
- Maintaining our national influence and profile at the heart of future pension’s policy – currently a high profile for government – whilst keeping abreast of all changes within pensions.
- Continuing to win new clients for pension’s administration, based on our….
- ….ongoing low costs across our administration and investment activities.
- Ensuring efficient delivery of payroll services – our credibility as an administrator is based on high performance and could be easily lost if performance declined.
- Continuing to make direct investments rather than managing investments by others, while….
- ….maintaining our consistent investment performance and….
- ….exploring all potential to use our WYPF assets to invest more in successful local economies.
- Keeping this role non-political whilst being politically aware and astute.
About The Person
Our new Director will bring
- Successful relevant leadership and senior management experience, ideally in a politically led or accountable environment, but if not, they’ll have….
- ….excellent political antennae, understanding of great governance and transparency.
- The ESG agendas are critical within pensions administration and investments, and our new Director must be on top of this, giving confidence to our employers and scheme members alike.
- Excellent on relationships and building alliances.
- Good at communicating and engaging our five WYPF member organisations, employers and members with an open style and proactive communications, excellent at influencing others
- Experience of exercising excellent judgement at Board level.
- Experience of overseeing and guiding investment decisions in a comparable environment (i.e. a pension fund or other similar investment environment) and ideally….
- ….direct investment experience in a relevant area at scale would be an advantage (desirable but not essential)
Alongside these skills and experience will come all the knowledge of policy, legislation, governance and risk you’d expect of a senior leader in a highly regulated pensions and investments environment. You’ll be used to making challenging decisions, able to communicate these issues, build alliances, influence and shape strategy, able to create a whole organisation culture that delivers customer focused services to a high standard, recognises and values public accountability, effective governance and oversight and the highest ethical standards. You’ll have leadership experience from within pensions and be ready to step up in either scale or seniority to lead this significant organisation. Coming from either the administration or investment side of pensions, you’ll have the judgement needed to oversee significant pension investment decisions. Whilst direct investment experience would be even better, it’s good judgement we want.