UK's Railpen Snags BCI Executive?

Susanna Rust of Investment & Pensions Europe reports, RPMI Railpen hires from Canada for chief fiduciary officer position:
RPMI Railpen, the in-house manager of the industry-wide scheme for UK railway companies, has appointed Michelle Ostermann to the new role of chief fiduciary officer for investments.

Ostermann will join the manager in January next year. She will be responsible for determining the £28bn (€32bn) railway pension schemes’ high-level investment strategy and risk appetite, as well as defining the range of internally managed pooled funds.

The manager said she would work closely with the investment, funding and covenant teams in proposing tailored solutions for the multi-employer sectionalised schemes.

She will also be responsible for the manager’s sustainable ownership strategy and client relationship management.

Ostermann will join from British Columbia Investment Management, where most recently she was senior vice president, corporate and investor relations. From 2013 to June 2017 she was senior VP for investment risk, strategy and research at the Canadian asset manager. She has also held senior positions at Manulife and Sun Life Global Investments, and is the vice chair of the board of directors of the Pension Investment Association of Canada.

Julian Cripps, managing director at RPMI Railpen, said: “Michelle brings a wealth of international experience to RPMI Railpen and her proven track record of leading teams to deliver best practice across the institutional investment industry will be invaluable as we continue to fulfill our mission to pay members’ pensions securely, affordably and sustainably.”

Ostermann is the latest appointee to the UK pension investor’s leadership team. Earlier this year Railpen appointed its first chief investment officer and head of private markets, positions that were filled internally. In February, Philip Willcock replaced Chris Hitchen as CEO.
Paulina Pielichata of Pensions & Investments also reports, RPMI Railpen adds chief fiduciary officer:
Michelle Ostermann was named chief fiduciary officer, investments at RPMI Railpen, the manager of the £28 billion ($32 billion) Railways Pensions Scheme, London, a spokesman said.

The position is new. Ms. Ostermann will start Jan.1 and will be responsible for high-level investment and risk strategy of pension funds for the employees of U.K. railways. She will be defining the range of internally managed pooled funds, focusing on sustainable ownership strategy and client relationship management.

"(Ms. Ostermann) brings a wealth of international experience to RPMI Railpen, and her proven track record of leading teams to deliver best practice across the institutional investment industry will be invaluable as we continue to fulfill our mission to pay participants' pensions securely, affordably and sustainably," said Julian Cripps, managing director at RPMI Railpen, in a news release.

Ms. Ostermann previously was senior vice president at the C$145.6 billion ($112 billion) British Columbia Investment Management Corp., Victoria, where she was responsible for leading the corporate and investor relations team. A spokesman could not be reached to comment about a replacement.
I've never met Michelle Ostermann but on her LinkedIn profile, it clearly states she is the Senior Vice President, Consulting and Client Services at BCI (formerly called bcIMC) with the following responsibilities:
For almost twenty-five years I have tackled a wide variety of roles which have helped me develop a comprehensive understanding of the global investment industry. I have held positions that span both institutional pension and retail investment businesses such as:
  • Actuarial portfolio management, ALM
  • Investment risk management and governance
  • Total portfolio management, asset allocation, macro research & investment strategy
  • Product development, marketing & business development
  • Communications, stakeholder relations & media
I have been fortunate enough to have tackled some very large and influential projects for some of the largest financial institutions in Canada. I’ve gained very broad experience managing large pools of multi-client public assets and even larger balance sheets for publicly traded highly regulated financial services firms. This breadth has provided me the opportunity to learn global best practices across all aspects of the investment industry, across all asset classes, which I have successfully applied to several transformative projects.
  • Developed a world class investment risk management team (25 ppl) and governance model
  • Re-invented Canada’s leading segregated fund product
  • Built from scratch a global asset allocation team, managing $6B AUA for six different divisions/countries
  • Constructed and managed global multi asset class target risk and target date funds, $2B AUA
I am currently the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the Pension Investment Association of Canada (PIAC) and a proud member of the Junior Achievement BC Board of Directors. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and hold a Chartered Financial Analyst designation (CFA).
Obviously, Mrs. Ostermann has great experience and she's very competent and smart. All these attributes attracted her to her new employer, RPMI Railpen.

Now, I'm not sure why Mrs. Ostermann is leaving BCI, she might have fallen victim to the toxic work environment or decided to leave on her own, but that doesn't matter now as she has a great position at Railpen where she can capitalize on her experience.

The only thing I can share with you is the person who informed me of her departure also shared this with me: "This was not in the least what staff was told about the departure. Unreal."

Anyway, Mrs. Ostermann will now be part of a small group of highly competent women in the pension industry with very senior investment and risk roles.

In particular, off the top of my head, she joins people like Barbara Zvan, the Chief Risk Officer at OTPP, Julie Cays, CIO of CAAT Pension, Debra Alves, Managing Director/CEO of CBC's Pension Plan and Marlene Puffer, President and CEO of CN Investment Division.

I actually met Marlene recently as she took over the helm at CN Investment Division from Russ Hiscock. She's a very bright lady with great credentials and experience and she also once worked at BCA Research writing a fixed income product, so we shared some of the same experience.

Apart from these ladies, the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan recently appointed Gillian Brown as Senior Managing Director, Capital Markets. Mrs. Brown was appointed to this important role and Stephen McLennan was appointed Senior Managing Director, Total Fund Management following the departure of Michael Wissell who joined HOOPP (Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan) as the Senior Vice President - Portfolio Construction and Risk (good for him).

Below, Investopedia spoke with some of the leading women in finance about their careers, influences and lessons learned along the way. Interesting views which should be taken into account.