Anson quits Hermes for US return(3)

Mark Anson, one of the biggest names in alternative investment, has unexpectedly quit as chief executive of Hermes, the manager of BT’s pension fund assets, just 18 months after taking the job.

Mark Anson, one of the most well-regarded investors in private equity, has abruptly resigned his role as chief executive of Hermes Pensions Management, a £72 billion (€107 billion; $148 billion) UK fund manager.

Mark Anson

Anson, who will leave Hermes at the end of August, is understood to be returning to the US for personal reasons, following a family illness. Since last year he has held a dual role as chief executive of the £40 billion BT Pension Scheme, and chief executive of Hermes, the BT-owned group that manages these assets and other third party funds.

His new role will be as president of Nuveen, a Chicago-based fund manager about to be taken private by Madison Dearborn for $5.75 billion – the biggest buyout in the sector to date.

Anson made his name as chief investment officer of the $250bn (€182bn) California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the largest public pension scheme in the US, where he increased assets under management from $127 billion to $210 billion partly as a result of increased allocations to alternatives, including private equity.

Since taking the chief executive role at Hermes in 2006, Anson has overseen widespread changes. He replaced investment chief Nick Mustoe, deputy chief executive Charlie Metcalfe, and strategy director James Walsh – all of whom left shortly after his arrival – and switched assets out of UK equities and into alternatives.

As part of this, the BT Pension Scheme recently signed off on a £300 million commitment to a new European mid-market fund managed by Hermes Private Equity, the fund manager’s buyout arm.

Hermes chairman Richard Bernays said: “Mark has made a significant contribution to Hermes since he joined at the beginning of last year. We understand the family reasons that require him to return to the US and we wish him and his family well.”

Rupert Clarke, currently the head of Hermes Real Estate Investment Management, will act as chief executive until a permanent replacement is appointed.