RPMI Railpen appoints Martin Hunter to its Pensions Policy team

RPMI Railpen (Railpen), which manages £30 billion of assets on behalf of the railway pension schemes, has appointed Martin Hunter as a Pensions Policy Actuary. Martin will report to Warwick Mason, Pensions Policy Director.

Martin joins Railpen from XPS Pensions Group, the listed pensions consultancy, where he has worked for the past 16 years after graduating from Oxford University. He qualified as an actuary in 2008. Martin has focused on corporate and transaction advisory work involving defined benefit pension schemes and, as a Partner at XPS, built up a client base that included some 25 employers with sections in the Railways Pension Scheme (RPS).

Martin will be responsible for ensuring the Trustee Board and its Committees can agree with employers’ integrated funding solutions. He will also support the strategic development of the Fiduciary team, led by Mads Gosvig, Chief Fiduciary Officer.

Mads Gosvig said: “Martin is widely respected in his field and is a great addition to the team. He brings a wealth of highly relevant experience in railway pension schemes, particularly from an employer’s perspective, which will allow him to hit the ground running. We’re very pleased that Martin is joining our team.”

Martin Hunter said: “I am delighted to be joining Railpen. Over the years I have gained some understanding of the RPS and its unique characteristics, and the market-leading integrated funding strategy the Trustee has developed to achieve its objective of paying members’ pensions securely, affordably and sustainably. I admire Railpen’s and the Trustee’s commitment to the continuing provision of defined benefit pensions and I am looking forward to working with them to further evolve their funding strategy, in the face of challenging economic conditions and changes to the regulatory environment, to ensure that defined benefit pensions continue to provide the best possible outcome for the members of the railway pension schemes.


RPMI Railpen appoints Michael Marshall as Head of Sustainable Ownership

RPMI Railpen (Railpen), which manages approximately £30 billion of assets on behalf of the railway pension schemes, has appointed Michael Marshall as Head of Sustainable Ownership with effect from September. He will report to Mads Gosvig, Chief Fiduciary Officer, Investments.

Michael’s team lead on how sustainability considerations are included in the investment process at Railpen. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) values are a core part of Railpen’s culture, and the Sustainable Ownership team will continue to integrate ESG considerations, constructively engaging with companies in which we invest and looking at longer-term risks and opportunities. We believe this provides greater value for Railpen’s beneficiaries.

Michael joins from LGPS Central, where he had been Director of Responsible Investment & Engagement. He has previously held roles at West Midlands Pension Fund, Trucost and EIRIS, specialising in responsible investment. He will take over from Leo George, who will stay with Railpen until the end of 2020, to ensure a smooth transition.

The Sustainable Ownership team will be boosted further through the appointment of Caroline Escott as Senior Investment Manager, leading Railpen’s active ownership work. She will join in September and will oversee engagement with the companies in which Railpen invests and, where appropriate, exercises its voting rights to have a positive influence and support member outcomes.

Caroline’s most recent role was as Senior Policy Lead on Investment & Stewardship at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA), where she led its investment, ESG and corporate governance policy and engagement work. Prior to this, she was a Senior Policy Adviser at the Association of Professional Financial Advisers (APFA).

Mads Gosvig, Chief Fiduciary Officer, Investments said: “At Railpen, we are guided by the investment belief that Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors materially impact long-term investment returns and must be taken into account. These appointments further support our commitment to this approach.

“Michael and Caroline will be crucial figures in incorporating ESG considerations into our portfolios and leading our thoughtful, constructive engagement with invested companies to enhance investment performance for our beneficiaries.”


RPMI Railpen and Wrenbridge secure consent for major London warehouse development

RPMI Railpen (Railpen), the investment manager for the £30bn railways pension schemes, and Wrenbridge have achieved planning consent for a 128,000 sq ft warehouse development on a 5.85-acre site in Waltham Cross, London, purchased in October 2019. The development will create six Grade A units ranging in size from 5,400 sq ft to 84,500 sq ft.

The site benefits from close proximity to major roadways including the M25, A10 and M11, and is immediately adjacent to Waltham Cross Station with regular 27 minute services to London Liverpool Street. Wrenbridge will act as development partner with Railpen, with the new units due to be completed in Q2 2021.

Alastair Dawson, Senior Asset Manager at Railpen, commented: “Securing planning consent achieves a major milestone in our objective of creating a new, Grade A warehouse development in this prime London location. We are committed to delivering this scheme and re-generating this derelict site, creating jobs for the Borough of Broxbourne.”

Jeff Wilson, Director at Wrenbridge, added: “The industrial sector continues to grow, with demand for premium space outstripping supply. This new development in Waltham Cross, with its range of unit sizes and excellent accessibility, is exactly what the market is looking for.”

The planning permission was secured at one of the first virtual planning committees held by video conference since lockdown commenced.

CBRE, Avison Young and Montagu Evans have been appointed as the leasing agents for the new development.


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.


RPMI Railpen appoints Mads Gosvig as Chief Fiduciary Officer, Investments

RPMI Railpen (Railpen), which manages approximately £30 billion of assets on behalf of the railways pension schemes, has appointed Mads Gosvig as Chief Fiduciary Officer.

He joins on 16 April 2020, and will be responsible for determining the high-level investment strategy and risk profile of the railways pension schemes. Working closely with the Trustee Board, he will lead the in-house Fiduciary team in tailoring investment solutions for the multi-employer sectionalised schemes, which have around 350,000 members.

Mads joins Railpen from ATP Group, Denmark’s largest pension scheme, where he was Head of Investment Strategy, and led the team responsible for the strategic direction and management of the ATP investment portfolio. Simultaneously he acted as Chief Investment Officer at ATP’s UK subsidiary NOW: Pensions, from its creation in 2012 through to its successful sale in 2019. He previously worked for Danske Bank and the Danish Central Bank.

Michelle Ostermann, Managing Director, Investments said: “Mads brings a wealth of specialist experience to Railpen which will provide a fresh perspective to our organisation. His experience developing and implementing investment strategies for a globally renowned pension scheme, will be invaluable as we continue to fulfil our mission to pay members’ pensions securely, affordably and sustainably.”

Mads Gosvig added: “It is clearly a challenging time for our industry, but I’m looking forward to working with the Railpen team to deliver successful investment and funding outcomes that secure our members’ future.”


RPMI Railpen aquires Camden Works office scheme

RPMI Railpen (Railpen), the investment manager for the £30bn railways pension scheme, has purchased Camden Works office scheme in North West London. The acquisition bolsters Railpen’s portfolio of office investments in the capital, following the 2018 purchase of Thames Wharf Studios.

Comprising three neighbouring warehouse-style office buildings, Camden Works totals 44,221 sq ft of contemporary office accommodation in the heart of the vibrant Camden borough, which has recently been named in a report by Growthdeck as the top destination in the UK for creating new businesses. Formerly utilised for piano manufacturing, each of Camden Works’ three structures is rich with historical character and unique period features.

Emily Atkinson, Asset and Transaction Manager at RPMI Railpen, commented on the purchase: “The many exceptional attributes and prospects of Camden Works make the asset a particularly valuable addition to our portfolio. Boasting unique appeal and excellent transport connections, Camden Works meets our core investment themes.

“We will be making strategic investments to enhance the distinctive character of these buildings. This will drive Camden Works’ appeal for office occupiers and generate long-term returns for Railpen’s members, through a host of asset management, redevelopment and future rental growth opportunities.”

DTRE advised RPMI Railpen, while TTG Partners acted for the vendor.


RPMI Railpen purchases Scottish wind farm to add to its direct investments in UK’s renewable energy sector

RPMI Railpen (Railpen), which manages £30 billion of assets on behalf of the railways pension schemes, has acquired an operational wind farm on the west coast of Scotland in its second direct investment in the UK renewable energy sector.

Railpen purchased 90% of Carraig Gheal Wind Farm in Argyll and Bute from GreenPower International Ltd, an independent UK renewable energy developer. Both parties agreed not to disclose the terms of the transaction.

The wind farm, consisting of twenty 2.3 megawatt (MW) turbines, has been operational since 2013 and benefits from support under the Renewables Obligation scheme. The farm has a total capacity of 46MW – enough to power c. 32,000 households with clean, renewable energy.

This purchase adds to Railpen’s direct investments in the sector, following last year’s acquisition of Tralorg Wind Farm in South Ayrshire, Scotland, which is made up of eight 2.35MW turbines, and is scheduled to be operational this year. These investments are held within the Scheme’s Long-term Income Fund, which makes asset-backed investments in real estate and infrastructure.

Lewis Vanstone, Deputy Portfolio Manager of Railpen’s Long-term Income Fund, said: “The acquisition of Carraig Gheal Wind Farm fits naturally into our investment strategy. The project’s operating track record, as well as its sustainable, long-dated and asset-backed income characteristics provide the exact qualities that are attractive for our Long-term Income Fund. The experience and expertise of our partner, GreenPower, ensure this deal will be of great long-term value for our scheme members.”

Through the transaction, Railpen was advised by Pinsent Masons LLP, Ernst & Young LLP, Everoze and Willis Towers Watson.

GreenPower will retain a 10% shareholding in Carraig Gheal Wind Farm and will continue to provide ongoing operations and commercial management services to the project.

Rob Forrest, CEO, GreenPower International Ltd, said:
“We are delighted to welcome Railpen as partners at Carraig Gheal, a project which is a significant part of our portfolio. We look forward to working with them on this and other opportunities in the future, as we help to deliver a zero carbon economy.”

GreenPower was advised by Gneiss Energy, Wood, CMS and RSM.


RPMI Railpen secures major 20 year letting for Iceland at Livingston Industrial Estate

Iceland, the leading British frozen food retailer, has officially signed for a lease of 20 years for its regional distribution centre at Houston Industrial Estate in Livingston.

The letting of the 284,000 sq ft warehouse, at a rent of £6psf, marks a significant transaction for the Scottish industrial market.

Owned by RPMI Railpen (Railpen), the investment manager for the £30bn Railways pension schemes, the Livingston site will continue to serve as a base for Iceland’s national operational logistics.

Alastair Dawson, Senior Asset Manager at Railpen, commented: “We are very pleased to have agreed a secure, long-term commitment from Iceland at this facility which ultimately delivers returns for our 350,000 members.”

Poseidon Developments advised Railpen in the deal.