UK pension beefs up private equity staff

The second-largest pension fund in the UK is increasing its headcount as it seeks to grow its alternative asset allocation to private equity and infrastructure.

Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), the second-largest UK pension fund, has expanded its private equity team with the addition of two analysts, Sweta Chattopadhyay and Tim Tyshing.

Chattopadhyay joins USS from ABN AMRO in London, where she worked as an analyst in the corporate finance team, while Tyshing joins from ANZ Banking Group in Melbourne, Australia, where he focused on due diligence on a range of asset classes including private equity.

“The current financial crisis presents us with an opportunity to further expand our investment team and we expect to make a number of additional hires within all areas of alternatives over the next twelve months,” said Mike Powell, head of alternative assets at USS, in a statement.

USS is currently in the process of boosting its alternative asset allocation from its current 7 percent to 20 percent in the medium term. “We will aim to have around half of the 20 percent in private equity and infrastructure, but we try to be opportunistic so allocations can change, Powell told sister website PrivateEquityOnline.com.

Since launching the programme in 2006, USS has made £2.8 billion (€3.4 billion; $4.3 billion) in commitments to private equity funds and has also made a number of co-investments and direct investments in private equity transactions.

USS is the second-largest pension fund in the United Kingdom, acting for 378 universities and academic institutions. It had more than £25 billion in assets under management at the end of September this year.