Tim Mpofu CPFA, Head of Pensions and Treasury

Tim MpofuTim became Head of Pensions and Treasury at Haringey Council in February 2021. Prior to that he worked within the Tri-Borough Treasury and Pensions team at Westminster City Council as a Pension Fund Manager, looking after the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham Pension Fund, which manages over £1bn in investment assets.

Tim's professional public finance journey started at the London Borough of Ealing as a finance graduate trainee. As part of the trainee scheme, he would split his time between studying for the CIPFA PQ and gaining practical experience working on placements in corporate finance and the wider council's services.

In 2017, Tim was awarded PQ Magazine's PQ of the Year, a national award in recognition for his contribution to CIPFA and public sector finance whilst at Ealing Council. Following this, Tim went on to secure his first permanent role in the council's treasury team before subsequently completing his final exams later that year.

Why did you choose a CIPFA accounting qualification?

I initially came across an initiative on social media which was promoted by CIPFA and the London boroughs. I clicked on the link and started to read more about the Finance the Future graduate scheme. The idea of working in public finance really appealed to me and so I decided to apply for the scheme.

How has your CIPFA training and becoming a CPFA helped you?

Entering the graduate programme with CIPFA provided me with exposure to a wide variety of opportunities, projects and the different aspects of management and financial accounting. There are also so many people around the CIPFA network to help you develop, learn and then apply that knowledge.

As part of the programme, I had the opportunity to work in different roles, allowing me to see how different parts of local government come together and this gave me a much stronger, more holistic view. Whether it be a cost analysis project in adult social care, cash flow management in treasury or working with the auditors at financial year end, I was able to gain a thorough understanding of public sector finance and accounting including its impact on the local community.

Since completing my studies, my CIPFA qualification has set me on a path to a career in pension fund management which I thoroughly enjoy. I am currently working within the tri-borough pensions team helping manage a pension fund with over £1bn in assets under management. This is such a big responsibility so early in my career – which so far has gone beyond my expectations when I started my training to be a public finance accountant.

Who has supported you in your career journey so far?

During my various graduate placement rotations and roles, I benefited from several different managers who have acted as my mentors along the way. As well as actively supporting my learning, they also helped me to fully understand my career potential within public finance and accounting; providing insights, advice and opportunities for me to continue to grow professionally.

My experience has shown me that there are some excellent managers and mentors working within the public sector who encourage individuals to thrive. In addition, I have played an active role in CIPFA's volunteer network with the South East region and the CIPFA Student Network. These networks have generated new professional connections, friends and have provided peer and mentoring support throughout my training and career to date.

What attracted you to a career in local government?

When I was younger, I used to work with a youth group and had first-hand experience of the tangible and real impact of decisions made by local government on the local community. I wanted to understand how and why these decisions were made. It is this experience which continues to fuel my desire to have a positive impact on society through my work and was a key factor in why I applied for the graduate scheme with CIPFA.

What is your advice to new CIPFA graduates?

Working in the local government sector enables you to make a real and positive impact on people, especially the most vulnerable people. If you are someone who has fresh ideas, looks at things differently and likes to collaborate, then I would highly recommend this career in public finance. There are plenty of opportunities to progress in a variety of different roles. It is often a question of being bold and accepting the challenge to step-up and take on more responsibilities.

What's in store for the next generation of CIPFA graduates?

In this career you have a real opportunity to make a positive impact. One of the biggest challenges for today and tomorrow is how to meet the funding gap as the demands for local services outstrips funding for councils. If you are entrepreneurial, have great ideas which you want to share, and you can think differently, then these skills will help us to solve this challenge and many others facing local government.

What book/film/podcast would you recommend to anyone working in public finance?

If you have a mild interest in investing or how the financial markets work, A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton G Malkiel is well worth a read!