SOURCE: Cambridge Associates

Cambridge Associates

June 08, 2016 09:00 ET

Cambridge Associates Expands Pensions Practice With Hire of Senior Private Investments Specialist

Vicky Williams, Formerly Head of Private Equity at BP Investment Management, Joins Cambridge Associates as the Global Investment Advisor Expands to Meet the Rising Demand From Pension Schemes for Advice on a Widening Range of Private Investments

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwired - Jun 8, 2016) - Cambridge Associates, the global institutional investment advisor, has hired Vicky Williams as Senior Investment Director, effective June 2016.

The appointment comes as UK and Continental European pension schemes consider a widening range of private investments to help them generate growth in an era of low interest rates and low investment returns. These include not only private equity and venture capital but also co-investments in real estate and infrastructure as well as credit strategies such as direct lending and more diversifying niche asset strategies.

Ms. Williams joins from BP Investment Management, the in-house fund manager for the BP Pension Fund, which has £21bn of assets. As head of private equity, she was responsible for the fund's £1.9bn private equity portfolio. Before that, she ran the private equity portfolios of British Airways Pensions Management and Shell Pensions Management Services.

At Cambridge Associates, Ms. Williams will advise Cambridge's UK and European corporate and public pension scheme clients -- which range in size from £100 million to more than £20 billion in assets -- on their private investment portfolios.

Alex Koriath, head of Cambridge Associates' European pensions practice, said: "We are delighted that Vicky Williams is joining our growing pension practice. She has run the private equity portfolios of three of the largest corporate pension funds in the UK and really knows what it takes to successfully put together a private investment allocation."

He added: "At Cambridge Associates, we are seeing pension funds that have traditionally steered clear of private investments now consider not just private equity but the whole gamut of private investments -- including private debt and niche strategies. Having been one of the preeminent advisors on private equity over the past 40 years, we are getting an increasing number of enquiries from pension funds requiring specialist private investment advice. With Vicky joining the team, we will be able to help more new clients."

The long-term performance of private investments continues to impress -- and outperform public equities. The CA Global Private Equity/Venture Capital Index saw a return of 13.4 per cent over the 10 years to September 2015, as against 6.4 per cent for the MSCI World Index.

Mr. Koriath said: "In the UK, pension funds are increasingly looking at less correlated private investment strategies. Trustees not only want robust strategies in an uncertain market environment but also high returns that will improve their funding levels. In continental Europe, there is also a growing demand for private investment advice. For example, in Switzerland, where pension funds allocate, on average, less than one per cent of their assets to private equity, more and more schemes are increasing their allocation to these investments."

Ms. Williams, who has served on the British Venture Capital Association's Limited Partner Advisory Board, said: "In an environment of prolonged low interest rates and expected returns, the illiquidity premium and alpha that private investments offer will play an increasingly important role in pension schemes' strategies. Cambridge Associates has a long track record of advising on private investments and I am delighted to join one of the most experienced teams in the private equity industry."

For more information, or to speak with Vicky Williams or Alex Koriath, please contact Simon Targett, Sommerfield Communications, Inc., at +44 7904 218990 / Stargett@sommerfield.com.

About Cambridge Associates

Founded in 1973, Cambridge Associates is a provider of investment services to institutional investors and private clients worldwide. Today the firm serves more than 1,000 global investors and delivers a range of services, including investment advisory, discretionary portfolio management, research and digital platform (OptiCA Research and OptiCA Benchmarks), and performance monitoring, across asset classes. Cambridge Associates has more than 1,100 employees based in nine global offices in Arlington, VA; Boston; Dallas; Menlo Park, CA; San Francisco; London; Singapore; Sydney; and Beijing. Cambridge Associates consists of five global affiliates that are all under common ownership and control. For more information about Cambridge Associates, please visit www.cambridgeassociates.com.

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