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Nest boosts investment expertise as it reaches £10 billion Assets under Management

Published: 27 January 2020

Nest is today announcing the pension scheme has reached £10 billion assets under management (AUM) invested on behalf of its more than 8.6 million members.

Commenting on the milestone Mark Fawcett, Nest’s Chief Investment Officer, highlighted how far the pension scheme has come:

“We started investing for Nest members in 2011 and the first contribution was just £19. Reaching £10 billion AUM shows Nest is set to become one of the largest players in the UK pension’s market and the scheme is now receiving £400 million new contributions every month. 

“We take this responsibility very seriously and every decision we take is in the best interests of our members. This includes making sure our investment strategy evolves as contributions grow, including by continuing to build on our market leading approach to ESG investment.”
Nest is also announcing two new additions to its Investment Committee, the body overseeing the pension scheme’s investment strategy which manages the AUM. Following a competitive recruitment, Jennie Austin and Jaap van Dam have been appointed by Nest Corporation to enhance the skillset and expertise on the Investment Committee. 
Commenting on the appointment, Jennie Austin said:

“The UK pension industry is at a fascinating junction and what’s clear is we have a huge opportunity to help millions of people have a workplace pension and enjoy a better retirement. 

“I’m excited to join Nest’s Investment Committee and continue the success they’ve achieved so far. There are a range of investment approaches, such as Climate Funds and factor investing, where I can offer my expertise and help shape the right approach to deliver the best member outcomes.”
Jaap van Dam said:

“I am honoured to become a member of Nest’s investment committee. I look at Nest as an extremely important and efficient vehicle to deliver a pension to many British workers who would otherwise have difficulty entering the pension system. 

“The rapid growth of Nest over the coming decades will require important decisions around investment management. I am a great admirer of the intellectual rigor Nest applies to its practice - from the behavioural choice design to the investment solutions it implements.”
Chris Hitchen, Chair of the Nest Investment Committee, welcomed the new appointments, saying:

“This is the first time that Nest has made appointments to its Investment Committee from outside of its Trustee Board, and I am delighted that both Jennie and Jaap came through a very strong field. Their deep experience and international perspectives will really help Nest as it grows into a large-scale investing institution.”

Notes to editors
Jennie Austin has spent over 30 years in the financial services industry, and ran funds both actively and passively as an equities manager with the BT and Post Office Pension Schemes. She became an authority on programme and quantitative trading, working at Nomura and then Barclays Global Investors. Subsequently she built and advised start-up businesses in electronic trading, independent research and broking. 
Most recently at FTSE Russell, Jennie worked for ten years with some of the UK and Europe’s largest pension and sovereign wealth fund investment teams. As a specialist in benchmark selection for both active and passive management Jennie guided ground-breaking moves into smart beta, factor and ESG/Ethical and Climate Funds supported by data and indices relevant to their investment objectives. 
Jennie studied business and holds both a degree from the Neoma Business School in France and a BA Hons from Middlesex University. She is CFA affiliated as an ASIP and has completed the Investment Management Programme at London Business School. Jennie was appointed to Nest’s Investment Committee in November 2019. 
Jaap van Dam is the investment director responsible for further developing PGGM's Investment Practice in order to continuously improve it. He has broad knowledge and experience on strategy, investment policy formulation, asset allocation and value chain design. In 2013 Jaap was voted CIO / “Investment Head of the Year” by aiCIO. 
Current other activities include being chairman of the VBDO, the Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Development, Chairman of European Chapter of the 300 Club and Member of the Research Committee International Centre for Pension Management (ICPM). Together with Kees Koedijk and Alfred Slager he authored “Achieving Investment Excellence: A Practical Guide for Trustees of Pension Funds, Endowments and Foundations.”

Jaap holds a Master’s Degree in Finance from the Erasmus University Rotterdam.