RPMI Railpen appoints Mike Craston to chair Railpen Investments Board

The Trustee Board of the £30 billion railways pension schemes has appointed Mike Craston as Non-Executive Chair to the Railpen Investments Board, the body responsible for overseeing the activities of RPMI Railpen (Railpen). Mike replaces Paul Trickett who chaired the board for six years since independent non-executive directors joined in 2014.

Mike is currently Chairman and Non-Executive Director of Aviva Investors, whose Global Executive Committee he joined in 2016 with responsibility for leading on global business development. In addition to this role, he also serves as Non-Executive Chairman at Idea Group and as Trustee and Chairman of the Investment Committee at Independent Age.

His career has been forged in investment management. Prior to joining Aviva Investors he was CEO for Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM) in America and Asia, preceded by senior positions at LGIM in the UK and at Aegon Asset Management.

The Railpen Investments Board has the full delegated authority of the Trustee Board to oversee Railpen’s role as the investment manager for the railways pension schemes. It benefits from the experience of three non-executive director investment professionals as well as two members from the Trustee Board and RPMI’s CEO John Chilman. It plays an important role in challenging and advising the investment teams to ensure that they continue to deliver on the Trustee’s mission to pay members’ pensions securely, affordably and sustainably.

Chris Hannon, Chair of the Trustee Board said: “Mike brings a wealth of experience to the Railpen Investments Board. His expertise and insights will ensure the railways pension schemes continue to benefit from the highest standards of governance and scrutiny.”

Mike Craston, Chair of the Railpen Investments Board added: “Paul is a tough act to follow. His valuable contribution, as the first non-executive director Chair of the Railpen Investments Board, was to ensure robust governance as Railpen continued to in-house more of the investment management. I am looking forward to joining the Railpen Investments Board and continuing Paul’s good work.

RPMI Railpen appoints Steven Tirrell as Head of Strategy & Planning

RPMI Railpen (Railpen), which manages approximately £30 billion of assets on behalf of the railways pension schemes, has appointed Steven Tirrell as their Head of Strategy & Planning.

He joins the Investment Executive Committee and reports to Michelle Ostermann, Managing Director, Investments. Steven will lead the Business Change team, which works to enable Railpen to meet its long-term objectives and secure the future of the 350,000 members of the pension scheme.

In this newly created role, Steven is responsible for the development and implementation of the strategy for the Investment business. This includes leading the delivery of departmental business plans, having ownership of the annual budgeting process and expense management, and measuring the success and effectiveness of change initiatives.

Steven joined Railpen in February 2020, bringing almost 20 years’ experience in the financial services industry, including leadership and strategic roles at PwC, Morgan Stanley and Citi.

Michelle Ostermann, Managing Director, Investments said: “Steven brings a wealth of leadership experience, and the skills and perspective that we need to help shape the future of Railpen as we continue to build our in-house asset management capabilities. Steven is a key member of our leadership team and he will be pivotal in developing and implementing our longterm strategy.”

Steven Tirrell added: “Railpen has a special responsibility to fulfil the trust that members put in us to look after their future financial wellbeing. I’m looking forward to applying my skills and experience towards delivering on that purpose.”

Greencoat Capital acquires 39 MWe Sleaford Renewable Energy Plant from Glennmont Partners

Greencoat Capital LLP (“Greencoat”) has completed the acquisition of Sleaford Renewable Energy Plant in Lincolnshire from Glennmont Partners. The investment was made with funds from RPMI Railpen (“Railpen”), the investment manager for the £30bn Railways Pension Scheme, and Greencoat Renewable Income (“GRI”), the diversified fund, with commitments from UK Corporate and Local Government Pension Schemes.

The transaction represents Railpen’s first investment partnership with Greencoat, the UK’s largest renewables sector-focused investor, with approximately £5.0 billion under management. Greencoat will operate Sleaford with involvement from investors on strategic matters. The terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.

Sleaford is an operational 39 MWe renewable CHP plant, which uses a blend of straw and sustainable woodchip to generate renewable power and heat. The plant benefits from well contracted Governmentbacked cashflows (2.0 Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) per MWh) and has circa 15 years of ROC life remaining.

Located within the ‘Grain Belt’, in Lincolnshire, the plant provides a reliable route to market for straw, an agricultural by-product which can represent an additional income source for local farmers. Heat generation by the plant is provided to the local swimming pool and other community facilities and the plant has recently signed a new community funding agreement with the council.

Sleaford is the second biomass plant acquired and operated by Greencoat following the acquisition of the Templeborough Biomass Power Plant in November 2019 continuing Greencoat’s advance into the bioenergy sector. This is the fourth investment of Greencoat’s recently launched diversified private markets fund, Greencoat Renewable Income LP. The acquisition reflects the appetite of UK pension schemes seeking predictable, secure income cash flows for renewable infrastructure assets.

For Railpen the purchase diversifies the Long-Term Income Fund’s holdings in a portfolio focused on assetbacked investments in real estate and infrastructure. To date the fund’s renewables assets have been concentrated in wind and solar investments, the most recent of which were last year’s acquisitions of Tralorg Wind Farm, in South Ayrshire, and Carraig Gheal Wind Farm, in Argyll and Bute.

Minal Patel, Partner at Greencoat Capital, said:
“Sleaford is a high-quality asset that will deliver predictable cashflows and significant inflation protection over the long term, helping our clients meet their liabilities. It also plays an important role in the area, supplying sustainable heat to local community facilities and providing arable farmers with a reliable offtake for their excess straw. We look forward to assuming stewardship of the plant as part of our strategy to build our portfolio of diversified renewable energy investments.”

Lewis Vanstone, Deputy Portfolio Manager of Railpen’s Long-Term Income Fund, said:
“The project is an ideal match for the Long-Term Income Fund’s continued focus on investing in a diversified portfolio with sustainable, long-dated and asset-backed income characteristics, particularly in the current environment. We hope to continue playing an active role in the UK’s transition to a low carbon economy while securing stable cashflows for our members. We are delighted to be partnering with Greencoat Capital in the acquisition of Sleaford. We look forward to working with Greencoat, and to growing this relationship.