Standard Life Investments

Liability Aware investment team

Our Liability Aware capability is an integral but distinct part of the multi-asset and macro investing team, recognising the additional challenges posed by managing assets in relation to liabilities. In particular, actuarial expertise forms a core part of our risk, development and client services areas. The specialists designing, implementing and managing our liability aware mandates primarily work in three groups.

Pensions solutions team

Led by Mark Foster, the pensions solutions team contains three investment professionals with over 40 years’ actuarial and investment consulting combined experience. The team works with clients and their advisers to help them ensure the suitability of a particular liability aware mandate for an individual client solution.

Mark Foster

Mark Foster

Mark joined Standard Life Investments in early 2011 and is leading the continued development of our Liability Aware investment capability. Mark has 16 years’ experience in the pensions industry working as an actuary and an investment consultant. He began his career at Aegon and was involved in advising pension schemes on a range of investment and actuarial issues. Mark then moved to Mercer’s Edinburgh office where he was a senior investment consultant. He was also part of their UK Strategy team, Financial Strategy Group and was leader of the Edinburgh team for his last two years. Mark has a MA (Hons) in Economics and Mathematics from the University of Edinburgh and is a Fellow of the Faculty of Actuaries.

Mike Smaje

Mike Smaje

Mike joined Standard Life Investments in July 2015 from First Actuarial where he led the delivery and development of the firm’s investment consulting capability. Mike began his career in 1992 with R Watson & Sons (now Towers Watson) and was a senior investment consultant with the firm from 2005 to 2011. Before that Mike held a position as Scheme Actuary to a wide range of pension scheme clients. Mike has a BSc (Hons) in Mathematics from the University of Manchester and is a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries.

Timea Varga

Timea Varga

Timea joined Standard Life Investments in 2014 and worked within our Enterprise Risk Team where she was a Risk Consultant. Previously, Timea worked as a Trainee Actuary at PwC. As Associate in PwC’s Pensions Consulting team, Timea was involved in a variety of work related to clients’ occupational DB schemes including valuations and risk management exercises. Timea has a Diploma in Actuarial Techniques, MSc (with Distinction) in Management from Queen’s University Belfast and a BA (Hons) in English from Debrecen University.

Multi-Asset Structuring team

Robert de Roeck

Robert de Roeck

Led by Robert de Roeck, the team consists of six people primarily responsible for the day-to-day portfolio management of our liability aware mandates, including ILPS portfolios. As part of its remit, the team undertakes ongoing monitoring of the liability hedge and ensures that liability hedging strategies are executed in the most cost-efficient and timely manner.

Liability Aware Investment Group

Stephen Acheson

Stephen Acheson

Chaired by Stephen Acheson, the 10-strong group combines expertise in macro-rates/inflation management, liability hedging and actuarial analysis. Its remit includes identifying shifts and trends in relevant markets to inform the views driving our liability aware mandates. The LAIG is responsible for adjusting the list of allowable hedging instruments over time, to take advantage of pricing anomalies or opportunities that might emerge over the economic cycle.

In recent years, increasing numbers of institutional investors have adopted liability-driven investment (LDI) strategies that aim to accumulate sufficient funding to meet both current and future liabilities. In particular, defined benefit pension plans have sought tailored LDI solutions that will deliver sufficient returns in order to maintain guaranteed pension income.

At Standard Life Investments, we have longstanding experience in constructing and managing flexible, client-specific LDI solutions. For example, in 2005 we developed a ‘liabilities-plus’ strategy for the pension plan of our parent group, Standard Life.

We are able to offer our clients tailored LDI solutions through our extensive skill-set and expertise across a range of asset classes including fixed income and multi-asset investing. We also have extensive experience using derivatives to achieve our clients’ goals.

To find out how we can help build an LDI solution that meets your requirements, please get in touch.