Mike Jensen has returned to Lancashire County Council’s treasury management team after a spell as chief investment officer at the Local Pensions Partnership (LPP) LGPS pool.
Jensen will take up a new position as the council’s director of investments, returning to the treasury department after two years away.
His appointment comes at a difficult time for the council: last year, accountancy firm PwC found that even if the authority is successful in meeting all of its cost reduction targets, it will have a cumulative deficit of £398m by 2021.
Lancashire County Council leader, Geoff Driver, said: “At a time when Lancashire County Council is facing a very challenging financial situation, it is more important than ever for the people of Lancashire that we secure the best possible return from the council’s investment activities, which is why we have created this new position of director of investments.”
The council says that the new role will see Jensen providing “entrepreneurial leadership and direct investment expertise” as well as developing and implementing the council’s treasury management strategy.
Jensen played a key role in the creation of LPP, which saw Lancashire pool its pension fund with London Pensions Fund Authority, anticipating the government’s subsequent focus on LGPS pooling as a means of reducing adviser fee costs.
He said: “It has been a pleasure to have been so closely involved in the launch and growth of LPP. We have made enormous progress in a relatively short time, and I know that the team we have built will enable the LPP to go from strength to strength in the future.
“With such solid foundations in place at LPP, I am now looking forward to returning to LCC to help develop the Treasury management function and to realise its capabilities.”
Jensen entered local government finance in 2002, when he was appointed treasury and pension fund manager for Cornwall County Council.
He has held a number of posts in the private sector, including spells at SG Warburg, Merrill Lynch Europe, UBS Investment Bank and Bank of America.
In an interview with Room151 in January, Jensen voiced confidence that the “LGPS, as an aggregate entity, is in better shape than the perception. I think it’s more sustainable than the perception and from here on in we can make it cheaper to manage than the past 30-40 years.”
A statement released by LPP in August showed that three people—including George Graham, formerly the council’s deputy county treasurer—had resigned as LPP directors in the past year.
Jensen is the second high-profile departure from a London based LGPS pool in recent months after former Hackney Council finance officer Jill Davys left the London CIV, where she had served as assistant director, client management.