Our team

The day to day running of the Fund is carried out by a team employed by an arms-length company which is owned by the Council, who act as administering authority. The company is supervised by a Board of Directors. Our functions include investment management, pension administration, employer liaison, data quality, member support, accounting, legal, risk and compliance, people and communications, communications and business admin. The investment management responsibilities include carrying out over 85% of investment management in-house and the monitoring and selection of external investment managers.  In addition, through our FCA regulated entity, we provide investment advice to a number of LGPS pension funds in Scotland.

Our core values

We are, above all, passionate about pensions and our values are enduring principles that inform, inspire and instruct day-to-day behaviour.
 
We are proud to be:
  • Agile and dependable - We approach work with an open and flexible attitude and take responsibility to manage our work effectively and efficiently. We also embrace new processes in a consistent and reliable way
  • Self-motivated and team players - We actively participate as individuals - taking pride and responsibility in what we do. At the same time, we show awareness for the team and ensure our objectives support the team's objectives
  • Challenging and respectful - We appreciate the need to challenge status quo and ask questions in a constructive and respectful way
  • Innovative and prudent - We always look to improve processes and practices and ensure we do this in a way that is safe and protects the Fund from unnecessary risk.

People

Doug Heron, CEO

Doug Heron, Chief Executive Officer

The product we offer materially impacts the lives of one in five people in Scotland.  How well we do that, it follows, is sort of an issue of national importance.  I respond best when I have clear accountability and a challenge that stretches me and I have both of those here at Lothian Pension Fund.  I want us all to get behind the mission to safeguard the pension benefits of our current and future members.  That might sound easy but it’s not.  We need people with skills, who care and who have the right values.  All working to a clear vision.
For almost twenty years my professional purpose has been to better understand why people need financial products in their lives and to use that understanding to influence how they should be designed and delivered.  I’ve worked in start-ups, scale-ups, private firms becoming listed, global corporates and foreign government owned banks, and now I’m here.  I’m an accountant by graduate education and professional qualification and have worked in finance, risk and operational disciplines from trainee through to executive management. 
No two days are quite the same for me and I suspect that’s true for many LPF colleagues.  My main commitment is in oversight of what we do: leading the team to deliver on our plans and giving guidance where needed.  I think as much as I can from the perspective of our members and what they need from us today and how that might change in the future.  I take those ideas and with the senior leadership team create a vision that all of our stakeholders can engage with.
 

Investments – Bruce Miller is the Chief Investment Officer

The Investment function administers and manages the assets of the Fund with the objective of paying members’ pensions during their retiral years.  It does this by investing the regular pension contributions of employers and members in a diversified portfolio of assets (currently circa £8bn in size), including equities, bonds, property and infrastructure.   The investment management team implements the investment strategy determined by the Pensions Committee.  Whereas most LGPS funds outsource management of their assets to external providers, Lothian has expanded its internal management capability over the last decade, so that it is able to manage most asset classes in-house.  This results in better alignment of interests and a truly long-term investment focus. The team manages a number of different portfolios, including regional and global equities and sovereign bonds, meaning that it selects individual securities on listed markets and funds on unlisted markets.

Pensions & Accounting – John Burns is the Chief Finance Officer

The Finance function is responsible for the preparation of the Fund’s (Group) Financial Statements in accordance with CIPFA / LASAAC Code of Practice on Local Authority Accounting in the United Kingdom 2018/19. With Lothian Pension Fund valued in excess of £8 billion and, in 2018/19, 384,490 pension payments totalling more than £231 million being made to 30,623 to members to support their lives in retirement, therefore, there is both scale and complexity to the workload of the Finance team.
The Pensions Administration team is responsible for the delivery of our pension administration services to scheme employers and members in line with the Local Government Pension Scheme. The team carries out all types of benefit calculations and is accredited by the Pension Administration Standards Association (PASA).  Also, the Fund holds the Customer Service Excellence (CSE) Award.  Accordingly, the team is committed to deliver a high-quality pension administration service placing high importance on continually improving member experience.
The Employer and Member team acts as a first point of contact for members and employers and their responsibilities include member liaison - answering calls and e-mails from members and helping members register for our online service and employer liaison – working with employers throughout their lifecycle, including employers joining the Fund, dealing with day to day queries on Scheme Regulations and administration of the Scheme, annual covenant analysis as well as working with employers leaving the Fund.  The team also ensure that annual pension forecasts are produced for members, monitoring and cleaning monthly data from employers and preparing the information used to pay pensions to ensure that the right amounts is paid to over 30,000 pensioners every month.

Legal and Risk Manager - Struan Fairbairn is the Fund’s Chief Risk Officer (Legal, Risk and Compliance)

The legal, risk and compliance team manages those core functions of our regulated investment and pensions business, as well as all governance and company secretarial matters. That involves providing strategic advice on the development of our business to the board and supporting its market leading investment, pension administration and employer teams on the work they do to ensure a best value pensions product is delivered. Because we invest across the whole spectrum of asset classes, and operates our own internal investment management team, we operate in a very transactionally active environment. The team also works to support its members on complex pensions administration matters, as well as the scheme’s employers in putting together cutting-edge admission and affordability packages, involving security and guarantees arrangements to support contribution stability.

People and Communications – Mark Walton is Head of People and Communications

The People and Communications function was set up to accomplish two things: ensure our people feel positive about working for us and enable them to effectively and efficiently serve our members through their efforts. The function comprises communications with its responsibilities for the Fund’s brand, strategic communications and employers and members communications. The team are also responsible for developing and managing our people practices, implementation of HR and people policies and initiatives, attracting and retaining talent to deliver an exceptional employee experience, ensuring people policies and practices support and enhance our organisational culture. The business support function has responsibility for ensuring our office environment reflects the needs and aspirations of both colleagues and visitors, management of internal and external events, managing our Health and Safety needs, managing our Business Continuity responsibilities, organising travel.

IT Oversight and Governance – Anne Mitchell is the IT Oversight and Governance Manager

We operate a pension fund for more than 85,000 members and made 384,490 payments to members to support their lives in retirement last year.  As you might expect, we need a combination of people, processes and systems to allow us to do that with efficiency and control.  Our technology oversight and governance functions exist to protect our operations against the risk of disruption from failure in our technology and to ensure our company and member data remains secure.   How we do that involves ongoing monitoring, due diligence reviews, service plan goals and targets, maintaining business continuity plans and using policies to ensure a high standard of governance.