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London Pensions Fund Authority Appoints Four New Board Members

The Mayor of London has appointed Rita Bajaj, Belinda Howell, Deborah Rees and Clare Scott to the London Pensions Fund Authority (LPFA) with effect from 18 May 2021.

Rita Bajaj is Non-Executive Director, IGC member and a Chartered Financial Analyst with over 30 years’ broad financial markets experience. Previously, she held Senior investment portfolio manager positions at Global and U.K. Asset Managers, heading investment teams at Royal London & Invesco Perpetual and managed Global and U.S. equity hedge fund vehicles for several major U.S. hedge fund institutions. Her most recent Executive role was EMEA Chief Administrative Officer at custodian, State Street. Bajaj joined State Street from the Financial Conduct Authority where she managed the supervision of large U.K. asset management and custodian firms. In addition, she is a Member of Hargreaves Lansdown’s workplace SIPP Independent Governance Committee and a Senior Advisor to Sheffield Haworth.

Belinda Howell brings expertise in sustainability and climate change strategy, ESG, responsible investment and assurance to FTSE 100 corporate boards. She has extensive experience across a wide range of sectors from natural resources, agri-commodities, fisheries and energy through the supply chain to consumer goods, retail and utilities. Howell founded strategy consultancy Decarbonize Ltd and is currently a NED of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, Marine Management Organisation and a Trustee of the National Biodiversity Network. She has previous experience as a director of engineering and infrastructure firm URS Corporation, chief executive of a start-up carbon and supply chain information technology provider and a nominee board member of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil and Roundtable for Responsible Soy Associations.

Deborah (Debbie) Rees had a long City career researching and providing investment advice, primarily on international equities, to professional investors. She worked for Kleinwort Benson, Bank of America, Barclays and Exotix Capital. In parallel with her city career, Rees has always had a passion for international development and served on the Board and Investment Committee of the Leprosy Mission International for whom she is now a pension fund trustee. She is also a member of the Board and Audit and Risk Committees at The Methodist Insurance Company (where she chairs the Investment Committee), CBF Funds Trustees Ltd, and The Land Trust.

Clare Scott has worked in the pensions industry for 30 years and is currently a non-executive director and independent adviser to a number of public sector pension funds. She specialises in governance and investment oversight and is a qualified actuary. A large part of her career was spent at Lothian Pension Fund, the local government pension fund in Edinburgh, and includes 5 years as its Chief Executive. Her experience there includes expanding the internal investment team, in-sourcing investment management, managing actuarial valuations, and establishing the Pension Board. Prior to that, Scott worked for an investment consultant.

John Preston, Chair of LPFA said:

“I am delighted to welcome Rita, Belinda, Debbie and Clare to the LPFA Board. Their expertise and experience will help us continue to deliver excellent service and value for money for our members and employers. I am looking forward to working with all four Board members to continue to strengthen LPFA’s governance and provide strategic steer on all matters including transparency against a challenging background of increased compliance and regulatory requirements.”

Robert Branagh, CEO of LPFA commented:

“I’m very pleased that Rita, Belinda, Debbie and Clare have joined the LPFA Board. Their diverse professional background and extensive experience within the public sector will be invaluable in helping us continue to deliver our strategic objectives including managing the risks and opportunities posed by climate change and other Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors. I look forward to working with our new and existing Board Members to deliver on our significant obligations to members, employers and wider stakeholders.”

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