UK insurer Legal & General, which seeks to become a leading private affordable housing provider in the UK, has hired Ben Denton to its newly created affordable homes business.

Denton has been appointed managing director of Legal & General Affordable Homes. He joins from Sovereign Housing Association, a housing association in the UK, where he served as executive director of property and development.

Prior to this, Denton held the position of group director of strategy and business development at housebuilder Keepmoat and executive director of growth, planning and housing at Westminster City Council.

L&G said Denton’s appointment supports the company’s commitment to accelerate and grow the provision of affordable housing.

Legal & General Affordable Homes has also appointed Ian Graham and Karen Wilson as non-executive directors. Graham has over 30 years of specialist experience as Head of Trowers & Hamlin’s Housing and Regeneration division. Wilson is a former CEO of Origin Housing.

In April this year, L&G added an affordable housing division to its £15bn (€17.0bn) UK direct investment programme.

The new business plans to accelerate and grow the provision of affordable housing across the UK, targeting all areas of the affordable housing market, including new build and grant-funded affordable rent, social rent and shared ownership units.

Affordable Homes will aim to be fully operational and delivering 3,000 homes per year within the next four years.

Simon Century, the head of L&G affordable housing business, said: “Legal & General is bringing institutional money to a significantly underfunded sector, as part of our commitment to tackle the UK’s chronic housing crisis.”

Century said with only 30,000 affordable homes delivered in the UK each year, and a waiting list of 1.3m, there is an urgent need to close this gap.

“Our new affordable housing business is based on a financially sustainable model, putting together a capable and experienced team to support our ambitions to affect real change in this sector.

“Ben, Ian and Karen are outstanding additions to the business, who will be instrumental as we drive forward our plans of deploying institutional capital at scale to develop and manage the affordable homes that the country needs.”