Assistant Director - Investment Management & Stewardship

Wolverhampton, West Midlands (GB)
Competitive plus benefits
27 May 2021
21 Jun 2021
Director, Senior Management
Asset Management
Contract Type

A new and unique opportunity for an investment professional to join our £18 billion Pension Fund and specialist in-house team, in a role focused on the development and delivery of the Fund’s investment objectives and integrated programme of investment stewardship – putting theory into practice and delivering meaningful outcomes.

As one of the largest Funds within the Local Government Pension Scheme, West Midlands (WMPF) has an established and diverse investment portfolio, developed to support our overriding objective to meet the long-term cost of pensions for our 340,000 members. These include many lower paid workers who provide essential public services across the region.  Contributions from our members and 750+ participating employers are invested to deliver cost effective returns with acceptable risk and through arrangements in keeping with the Fund’s Responsible Investment Framework and Climate Change Strategy and Framework.

Investment stewardship at WMPF means the responsible allocation, management and oversight of Fund assets to generate sustainable benefits for the economy, the environment and society.  This requires active engagement throughout our own investment chain, working alongside investment partners and with regulators, policy makers and peers to tackle systemic issues and risks.  Combined with targeted policy, assessment and reporting we aim to build assurance and, where required, drive positive change.

As part of the LGPS Central investment pool, WMPF develops and a utilises a range of pooled investments products to support LGPS Partner Funds in delivering their investment strategy.

In a newly developed role, you will have the opportunity to work across investment classes and with investment partners to continue to develop, assess and evolve the Fund’s approach to investment management and stewardship.  You will work closely with the Fund’s directly held assets, oversee management and lead on governance and reporting.

Responsibilities for the role include:

  • Development and management of strategic partnerships which enable the implementation of the Fund investment strategy, monitoring, and reporting to ensure a sustainable investment approach
  • Representing WMPF in key roles which enable governance and oversight of the Fund’s investment management arrangements, including advisory committees and practitioner forums within the LGPS Central pool
  • Contributing to the development of WMPF’s investment risk and assurance framework; ensuring activity is aligned and supports the Fund’s compliance monitoring and investment reporting programmes
  • Sponsoring and supporting WMPF’s Responsible Investment Officer with the development and delivery of the Fund’s responsible investment framework, including stewardship programme, and Climate risk metrics and reporting to support the Fund’s Climate change risk strategy and framework
  • Developing and working with initiatives and alliances, including those within the West Midlands’ region., in support of delivering WMPF’s investment objectives
  • Development, assessment and reporting on investment activity and outcomes, including UN PRI assessment, UK Stewardship Code, TCFD reporting, annual stewardship and climate plans
  • Ensuring the integration of responsible investment and stewardship activity, assessment and reporting, across the WMPF asset base, public and private markets, at asset level and throughout the investment chain

The successful candidate will hold a relevant professional Investment qualification (CFA /IFoA) and have experience of working with FCA-regulated entities and Partnership structures and have knowledge of a wide variety of asset classes and investment products. They will have strong verbal and written communication skills, able to articulate and navigate complex issues to a variety of audience with the ability to work with and manage teams.

If you are interested in applying, please submit your CV & covering letter to


Job Description

Effective date of issue: May 2021

Job Purpose and Role:

Lead on the development of the Fund’s approach to investment management and stewardship across assets held by the West Midlands Pension Fund (c£18bn), working closely with the Fund’s directly held assets and with implementation partners to oversee management and lead on governance and stewardship reporting.

Promoting high standards of investment stewardship, actively engaging with Fund assets and regional stakeholders to develop the Fund’s integrated approach to responsible investment, aligned with the Fund’s investment beliefs and strategic requirements.

Sponsoring development and delivery of the Fund’s Responsible Investment Strategy and Framework, Climate Change commitments and informing development of sustainability investment strategies, including collaboration with other investors including, where relevant, input to wider industry debate on RI matters and policy development.

Responsible for obtaining and managing specialist advice and information to support portfolio and asset management, enabling risk management and effective investment decision making.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities:

Investment partnerships, collaborations, responsible investment and investment risk assurance

  1. Responsible for the management of the Fund’s strategic investment partnerships and collaborations, participating in advisory committees and forums, monitoring of performance and ensuring ongoing alignment with the Fund’s objectives.
  2. Responsible for contributing to and informing the development of investment strategy including asset classes, where implementation is supported by investment partnerships. 
  3. Undertaking roles which directly support the management and/or oversight of specific and more bespoke Fund investments, typically held in specialist Funds or directly held, which may include those undertaken in support of local investment initiatives. Preparing reports and recommendations for consideration by the Investment Committee, the Investment Advisory Panel and Pensions Committee.
  4. Responsible for appraising and managing alliances and initiatives which support the Fund’s responsible investment objectives and undertake research to support due diligence and policy development where this supports the Fund’s Responsible Investment themes and objectives, including Climate Change risk management. Preparing reports and recommendations for consideration by the Investment Committee, the Investment Advisory Panel and Pensions Committee.
  5. Contributing to the development of the Fund’s investment risk and assurance framework, development and ensuring activity is aligned and supporting its implementation to ensure a proportionate and effective practice in managing investment functions internally and externally, where outsourced; ensuring compliance with all relevant regulations and guidance. 
  6. To contribute, as a member of the Internal Investment Committee (IIC) and Investment Advisory Panel (IAP), to discussion and monitoring of global investment markets, economies and other investment issues affecting the Fund’s investments, appraising recommendations for strategic asset allocation, portfolio construction and individual investment proposals. Bringing recommendations to IIC as appropriate.  
  7. Identify factors which have a significant impact on the Fund’s investments both beneficial and detrimental, making recommendations to improve performance and/or reduce risks.  Responsible for ensuring accurate and up to date record keeping on all directly-held Fund assets.
  8. Sponsor the ongoing development of the Fund’s Responsible Investment Framework, including Climate Risk Strategy and contributing to the formation and implementation of the Fund’s Investment Strategy Statement.

Service and operational delivery

  1. To work closely with the Fund’s external advisers, including Investment Advisory Panel to ensure the Fund’s investment management arrangements are effective in delivering and enabling implementation of the Fund’s investment strategy and responsible investment objectives.
  2. To oversee and report on external Partnerships and their ongoing ability to support the Fund in meeting its strategic investment objectives to the Internal Investment Committee and other members of the Senior Management Team, making presentations and reporting to the Investment Advisory Panel, Pensions Committee and Local Pensions Board, ensuring the timeliness and quality of all reports.
  3. To be responsible for ensuring the role and function of the Fund on investment advisory committees and controlling seats (including Company Board where held) held in relation to individual assets or investment funds are identified and utilised to protect and enhance the management of the Fund’s investment.  This includes oversight where functions are delegated (e.g. to LGPS Central Limited) and review and reporting on the performance of these arrangements.
  4. Responsible for identifying, managing and reporting on the Fund’s collaborative Responsible Investment initiatives, including research and engagement activity aligned to the Fund’s responsible investment themes.  This includes ensuring the Fund is represented, where appropriate, and acting as a leader in national and international issues where the objectives are aligned with those of the Fund, with the production of reporting to demonstrate progress and investigation and reporting on emerging issues which may impact future investment decision making.
  5. Develop and maintain professional working relationships with a large number of external providers (advisers, managers, service suppliers) and the LGPS Central investment pool Company and Partner Funds.  This includes ensuring the delivery and maintenance of shared service arrangements and frameworks, where established in partnership.
  6. To be responsible for implementing and overseeing projects in consultation with the Director of Pensions and other Assistant Directors / Senior managers, as required.
  7. To represent the Fund on suitable external bodies as required and as agreed with the Director of Pensions to ensure the Fund is represented at both a national and regional level. Contributing to industry-wide discussion and consultation.
  8. To develop and maintain good working relationships with all managers, peers, Elected Members and support the development of wider relationships with stakeholders across the West Midlands region.

Senior Management and people responsibilities

  1. Contribute to the strategic planning, direction and management of the Fund by developing capabilities, being responsive to change and ensuring that professional integrity is maintained at all times.
  2. As a member of the Senior Management Team, deputise for the Director of Pensions and other colleagues, as required, responding positively to changes affecting the service, advocating new practices and driving an agenda of change, where required.
  3. Adopt a collaborative and supportive approach, to colleagues across the Fund and in partner organisations, providing strategic advice, assistance and support and leading by personal example as a role model of commitment and excellent performance.
  4. Participate as required within the Fund’s corporate resilience, emergency planning and business continuity arrangements. Promote effective communications and act as an ambassador, both internally and externally, in order to support the Fund’s objectives and promote the reputation of the Fund and West Midlands’ region.
  5. To motivate and develop strong working relationships with external Partners and ensure a clear focus on appropriate outcomes for West Midlands’ stakeholders
  6. Responsible for the undertaking and discharging of responsibilities associated with investment partnerships and collaborations entered into by the Fund to facilitate the delivery of Investment Strategy, subject to delegations from the Director of Pensions.
  7. Ensure the Fund’s vision, aims, objectives and core values are actively promoted and address any shortcomings in behavioural competencies.
  8. To maximise individual performance by appraising direct reports and other staff (including Shared Partner Fund support office) against established competencies and ensure, working with direct reports, that work is managed and co-ordinated across the associated service areas.
  9. To ensure the performance of those appointed to the LGPS Central pool Shared Office support function, employed by the Fund, meets the required standard and that their roles meets the objectives of managing and co-ordinating activity across the pool, as set and agreed with Partner Funds.
  10. To undertake own suitable training and development, both specialist/technical and to build on and maintain interpersonal/management skills, in accordance with training and development strategies which may be implemented from time to time.
  11. To undertake any other duties and responsibilities, commensurate with the grading and general scope of the post, that may be allocated from time to time or in response to the changing needs of the Pension Fund, as requested by the Director of Pensions.           

Key Contacts

The post holder will have considerable contact with employees across the Fund, Elected Members, Strategic partners (including senior Investment Directors and Chief Investment Officers at the Fund’s investment pool company LGPS Central Ltd), external advisers (investment and legal), and Fund Managers.  The post holder will be principal contact for external advisers appointed to the Fund’s Investment Advisory Panel.

As a partnership-focused role, the post holder will have considerable contact with senior officers and peers in equivalent councils and pension funds, as well as other institutional investors, with a role in delivering joint ventures and management arrangements bespoke to the West Midlands Pension Fund.

Principal internal contacts are Director of Pensions, Assistant Director – Investment Strategy and Senior Management Team (Assistant Director - Pensions, Head of Finance, Head of Governance and Corporate Services in particular) and the investment team.

The post holder will regularly attend and present reports and other information to the Pensions Committee and wider stakeholders across the region.  They will also be in contact with external peers and asset managers for networking and information sharing purposes.

Management of people and resource

The post holder will have a small number of direct reports (including Responsible Investment Officer and those appointed to the LGPS Central pool shared office support function) and will provide support and deputise, on request, for the Director of Pensions and Assistant Director- Investment Strategy, in the event of absence or other capacity constraints.

There is a requirement for the postholder to support delivery of the Investment Operating Model, Investment Risk and Assurance Framework, and investment strategy and policies, taking leadership in Responsible Investment policy.

The job involves direct responsibility for management of relationships with strategic partners including the LGPS Central pool, collaborative responsible investment engagements together with other Partner investors and investment managers delivering bespoke real asset (infrastructure) and local investment arrangements. The role involves regularly advising and reviewing the work of others, including through participation on behalf of the Fund in external investment advisory committee and Company Board roles.

Special features

To act in accordance with the Council Constitution and comply with the Council's agreed policies and procedures including but not limited to Health and Safety, and Equal Opportunities Policies, the Data Protection Act, Freedom of Information Act, Financial Management Regulations and other relevant Council and Government Regulations, Directives and City-wide priorities.

Post holder must comply with the provisions of all Data Protection and Computer Misuse Legislation, Computer software Copyright Legislation and the Council’s Computer Security Statement.

To undertake any other tasks, duties and responsibilities as directed and appropriate to the grade and role of the post subject to any reasonable adjustments under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 as incorporated into the Equality Act 2010.

Politically restricted post, as per Local Government Officers (Political Restrictions) Regulations 1990.

Post holder will be required to demonstrate the behaviours and attributes that support the Council and Fund’s core values.