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Universities Superannuation Scheme finance chief to retire

Change at top of leading responsible investor

The £28bn (€32.6bn) Universities Superannuation Scheme, one of the largest pension schemes in the UK and a key player in the corporate governance movement, is seeking a replacement for Chief Financial Officer Colin Hunter who is retiring.
“Due to the forthcoming retirement of our CFO in March 2011, we are now seeking a new CFO,” USS says in its recruitment advertisement. The role reports to Chief Executive Tom Merchant.
Hunter has been CFO since he joined USS in 1991; he was formerly with accountants Ernst & Young. He is also a director of University of Liverpool Pension Fund Trustees Ltd. Applications should be made by October 22 with initial interviews taking place on October 27.
Separately, USS today made plain its opposition to proposals for the annual election of company directors – one of the key elements of the UK’s new Corporate Governance Code.Speaking at a seminar organised by proxy voting firm PIRC, USS analyst Jeanette Andrews voiced concerns about the ability of investors to assess and vote on directors on an annual basis – and that the increased volume of work may mean they miss something material. In a Q&A session with Chris Hodge, Head of Corporate Governance at the Financial Reporting Council, she said: “You’re tripling our workload.”
Hodge conceded Andrews had raised a lot of practical points that would need to be addressed. The FRC, he added, hadn’t anticipated that annual director elections would need an increased level of scrutiny throughout portfolios. But, in response to a question from Responsible-Investor.com, he said there was no current intention to withdraw the requirement – though it was something we “clearly need to keep an eye on”.