Only about six weeks into the job, Gray is new enough so that some of his ideas haven’t been taken to the investment committee yet. However he has already identified areas of focus for both investment opportunities and expanding the inhouse team. The London investment office of USS employs 68 people including some settlement staff and administration, and Gray credits his predecessor Peter Moon with creating a collegial and friendly environment with little politics. The fund manages most of its investments inhouse, except for roughly 10 per cent in alternatives and about 10 per cent in external equities. Gray says the largest pools of talent are the public equity desks, property, and alternatives, with a small fixed income team and some cash management.
“Peter deserves a lot of credit for many things, I have come to a place that has some good professionals in situ,” he said. He believes the area most lacking internally is a strategy role, which would cover medium-term asset allocation and manage the rebalancing process. “The area I think we have a gap and is important to fill is this strategy area,” he said. “There is no strategy unit for that, no ongoing continuous activity.” In addition Gray will expand on an initiative underway to build risk and quantitative tools at the fund, and move more attention to performance analytics and improve the oversight function in that area. Gray started with USS in September, having previously been chief investment officer at Hermes Investment Management, and before that working in a private sector career including UBS Brinson and Rothschild Asset Management.