US - Towers Watson has named six investment heads, including one to the new position of head of strategy for North America.
Towers Watson has appointed Matthew Stroud to the newly created position of head of strategy and portfolio construction in North America. Stroud will help clients develop strategies and portfolios based on their objectives, consistent with the firm's outlook on capital markets and investment opportunities. He moves across from the firm's New York office where he was investment leader for the past five years. He is also a member of the company's Global Investment Committee.
Additionally, the firm has announced Michael Hall as west division investment leader; Weston Tompkins as east division investment leader; Marko Komarynsky as head of manager research in the US; Diya Luke as the New York office investment leader; and Hillary Bolton as the Atlanta office investment leader. These roles will go into effect immediately while Hall's will start at the beginning of March.
Hall will be responsible for advising pension plan sponsors and institutional investors on investments in the western United States. He joins after 13 years at Russell Investments Americas where he was the director of investment strategy, focusing on defined benefit pension plans and how fiduciary and corporate decisions impact the fund's viability and shareholder value. Tompkins will assume the East responsibilities previously held by Christopher DeMeo, who was named head of investments for North America in January 2011 (Global Pensions: 12 January 2010). Tompkins initially joined the company as Southeast investment leader in 2006.
Most recently, Komarynsky was the firm's director of US fixed-income manager research. He joined in 2005 as a fixed income specialist, after holding fixed income analyst and portfolio manager positions at EVEREN Securities, Bank of America and Harris Trust and Savings Bank. Luke joined Towers Watson in 2004 as a senior analyst - a post she also held at Mercer. Bolton also joined the company in 2004 as a consultant. She had client-facing roles at Vanguard, Towers Perrin and Mercer before this.
DeMeo said: "Michael brings to Towers Watson decades of client advisory experience and a deep understanding of the institutional investment market, which he continually exhibited during our time together at Russell. He, Matt, Weston, Marko, Diya and Hillary are highly regarded within the investment community, having helped scores of clients throughout their careers. Their broad understanding of the ever-changing marketplace, and their relationships with industry players, will effectively represent our clients' interests - and address their myriad needs - in this fluid environment."
The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) is in the process of convening an industry-wide group to take forward the work of the Institutional Disclosure Working Group (IDWG).
The Transfers and Re-registration Industry Group (TRIG) has given its support to an initiative which aims to complete occupational pension transfers within three weeks.
Scottish Widows has completed a bulk annuity deal for the Hitachi UK Limited Pension Scheme.