Mon | Feb 17, 2020

Management swap at National Insurance Fund

Published:Friday | November 3, 2017 | 12:00 AMAvia Collinder
Audrey Deer-Williams ... now chief technical director at the Ministry of Labour.

Dione Jennings, whose substantive post is chief technical director at the Ministry of Labour & Social Security, has taken on the role of senior director of investments at state-run National Insurance Fund, NIF.

Just as quietly, the former pension manager, Audrey Deer-Williams, has switched roles with Jennings and is now operating as chief technical director of the ministry.

Jennings told the Financial Gleaner that her appointment took effect September 7 and would be temporary.

The labour ministry itself is yet to explain why the swap occurred, although sources have said the shift was basically a lateral move.

With around $90 billion of funds under management, the NIF oversees a portfolio of commercial real estate and resort holdings, substantial equity stakes in various companies, and other financial assets. The fund invests the pension contributions made to the National Insurance Scheme, and both operate under the umbrella of the labour ministry.

The size of the fund has nearly doubled under Deer-Williams, from $49 billion, over the decade that she has been in charge.

Jennings redirected further requests for comment to Collette Risden, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Labour, as the officer who could add clarity to the changes. However, Risden was said, by her assistant on Wednesday, to be travelling.

Deer-Williams was also travelling. She has overseen the NIF's investment since 2007, and served before that as operations coordinator and later financial analyst at two other companies in the United States.

Here in Jamaica, her track record includes positions at First Cumberland Jamaica Stockbrokers and Urban Development Corporation.

Jennings, who studied at the University of the West Indies, has been with the labour ministry for two years.

As chief technical director, Deer-Williams will be responsible for "designing, developing, articulating, implementing and evaluating an overall operational and financial planning framework for the ministry and running a priority-setting process in support of the Senior Management Committee's decision-making and resource allocation process, and provide secretariat services to that committee" - based on the job description outlined by the civil service.