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5 October 2023

Mike Powell announces intention to retire as Head of Private Markets at USS Investment Management (USSIM)

USSIM has announced that Mike will stand down on 31 March after 17 highly successfully years at USSIM, including over a decade leading the Private Markets Group (PMG). He will take up a new position as Senior Advisor to PMG and will represent USSIM as a non-executive director on a number of USS’s portfolio companies.

Ben Levenstein, Deputy Head of Private Markets, and Head of Private Debt and Alternative Income, will succeed Mike. Ben joined USS in 2002 as a portfolio manager in the UK and European Equities team, before leading the team. Ben has worked with Mike since 2009 with a focus on building out USSIM’s Private Credit business.

Mike established USS's private markets investment programme when he joined USS in 2006. Under his leadership, the Private Markets Group has been an innovator in the European pensions industry with its early adoption of a direct investment strategy in private markets, and around 60% of USS’s private markets are now directly owned assets. PMG has grown to a team of 70 professionals investing across multiple private asset classes. This direct investment approach has brought significant benefits to USS including a long-term track record of significant outperformance while delivering significant cost savings relative to its global pension fund peer group.

Simon Pilcher, Chief Executive Officer of USSIM, said: “Mike has led the transformation of USSIM into a major investor in private market assets, providing patient capital for a wide variety of businesses. He has built an outstanding team and has played a vital role in transforming the long-term performance and resilience of USS through our private market investments, for the benefit of our members.”

“I am delighted that Ben will succeed Mike. His promotion underlines the depth and strength of the talent within USSIM. Ben has played a significant role across PMG for over a decade, particularly in the private credit business, and I have every confidence that PMG will continue to thrive under his leadership.”

Mike said: “After 17 amazing years at USS, I have decided the time is now approaching for my career to shift gear and for me to retire from full-time executive life.

“I am immensely proud of what we have achieved over that time. USS is now widely regarded as one of the most innovative investors in private markets and the leading UK pension fund investor in private market assets.

“Ben has worked at USS for more than 20 years and he is uniquely qualified to lead PMG onto even greater success in the future.”

Ben said: “I am immensely honoured to succeed Mike and lead such a talented team. Under Mike’s leadership we have built a market leading private markets franchise and an outstanding investment culture. This provides a strong platform to continue our growth trajectory as we evolve our strategy to meet USS’s and our members’ needs.”

Mike and Ben will work closely together over the coming months to manage a smooth transition of leadership responsibilities.