BP pension fund hires private equity specialist(3)

Energy giant BP has created a new position to oversee its pension fund’s private equity investments. Ex-BA trustee Vicky Wilson will form part of a new-look team at the head of the $27 billion fund.

The pension fund of UK energy group BP has hired a new head of private equity investment, as it looks to ramp up its allocation to the asset class.

The fund has hired Vicky Wilson into a new role as head of private equity investment. Wilson, who has previously worked with the British Airways and Shell pension funds, will start at BP in September.

The appointment reflects the increasing importance of private equity to the pension fund’s investment strategy. The asset class currently accounts for about 3.5 percent of BP’s $27 billion European pension fund, but the trustees are now looking to increase this proportion – possibly to as high as 5 percent, according to a BP spokesman.

The fund has so far made around 50 commitments, about 70 percent of which have been to buyout funds in North America and Europe, with the remainder split between venture and funds of funds. Its general partners include European VC firm Index Ventures, Spanish firm Mercapital and Swiss alternative asset manager Partners Group.

Wilson’s appointment coincides with the departure of the fund’s overall investment head Colin Maltby, who will retire at the end of June. His role will pass to his deputy Tony Pike, initially on a temporary basis. The scheme’s chief executive Dr Reg Hinkley is also leaving in the next few weeks, to be replaced by Sally Bridgeland, who was elected in March.

BP’s European pension fund combines all the assets from the energy giant’s various pension schemes across the continent. However, the $27 billion total is drawn primarily from the UK, since most of the other schemes are unfunded.