Environment Agency PF hires Townsend for real-assets push

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  • Environment Agency PF hires Townsend for real-assets push

UK – The Environment Agency Pension Fund (EAPF) has appointed The Townsend Group to develop a global portfolio of up to £240m (€282m) in real assets, including property, infrastructure, forestry and farmland.

The £2.1bn pension fund will transfer around £60m of property assets from Aviva Investors as part of the mandate. The rest of the money will be gradually funded over the next two years from EAPF public equity and cash investments.

Howard Pearce, head of environmental finance and pension fund management at EAPF, said The Townsend Group was chosen "because they had the most assets already invested in the four asset classes."

The company also met the pension fund's requirements to adhere to its responsible investment and environmental overlay strategies, and its environment, social and governance policies. It is also a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI).

EAPF received a total of 25 formal expressions of interest and 13 firms were invited to tender.

The selection of Townsend is part of EAPF’s drive to invest one-quarter of its assets in the ‘green economy' by 2015.

This includes an allocation to global real assets such as energy-efficient buildings, renewable-energy projects, public transport, water-treatment facilities, eco-friendly farming, and sustainable forestry.

The strategy is expected to be phased in gradually and, as a result, an interim target of 9% has been set for 2013 with 12% slated for next year.

Adam Calman, principal at The Townsend Group, said: "We aim to utilise our specialist, independent platform to construct a global portfolio, recognising the significant opportunity to partner the agency in raising awareness and adoption of environmental and sustainability practices across the asset classes."

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