The Brunel Pension Partnership has named Denise Le Gal as its independent chairwoman, ahead of the pool seeking authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Le Gal, who is currently chairwoman of Surrey Council's pension fund, will oversee the £25bn pool, which will bring together assets from 10 pension funds across the south west.
She will now begin the recruitment process of the pool's senior management team and non-executive directors to sit alongside her on the board. Once these have been appointed, the pool will be able to pursue authorisation from the FCA.
In July 2015, the government required all 89 funds in the Local Government Pension Schemes (LGPS) to pool investments by April 2018 in a bid to improve efficiencies and drive down costs, giving rise to eight distinct structures.
However, as the London Collective Investment Vehicle and the London Pension Partnership - the pool between Lancashire and the London Pension Fund Authority -had started the pooling process voluntarily before the government's announcement, the Brunel fund is the first mandated pool to hire an independent chairperson.
Once it achieves FCA accreditation, the Brunel pool will bring together the pension schemes for Avon, Buckinghamshire, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Environment Agency, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Somerset, and Wiltshire.
Le Gal said: "I am delighted to be given this chance at the start of the company's journey to shape it into one of the best pools, and I am excited at working with the 10 funds to deliver real efficiencies and improved returns to their half a million members."
Dorset pension fund chairman and Bournemouth Unitary Council leader John Beesley added Le Gal's experience will help shape the pool's future.
"Denise brings significant experience of both the private and public sector investment and pensions industry," he said. "Her knowledge, enthusiasm and will to succeed will be a tremendous asset in shaping the Brunel company."
Le Gal has been cabinet member for business services at Surrey County Council since 2009, during which time she has also sat as chairwoman of its £3.9bn pension fund. She has, however, stated that she will not stand for re-election later this year.
She has also been a trustee director of the JP Morgan Chase UK Retirement Plan since 2011, and a county councils' representative to the LGPS Scheme Advisory Board at the Department for Communities and Local Government since 2013.
She sits as an executive member of the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum and also the chairwoman of the Local Government Pensions Committee at the Local Government Association.
The government has confirmed the current interim chairwoman of The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO), Caroline Rookes, will continue the role in a permanent capacity.
The Pensions Management Institute (PMI) has appointed three non-executive directors and an executive director to its board.
Former Financial Regulators Complaints Commissioner Antony Townsend is to become chair of an expanded Determinations Panel at The Pensions Regulator (TPR).
Six members of Ross Trustees’ pension trustee and support teams have been promoted into new roles.