Federated Hermes has launched an in-house UK housing operating platform, which will manage residential assets owned by the BT Pension Scheme.

Existing assets, which include The Cargo Building in Liverpool, and the two newly acquired projects will all fall under the Hestia brand.

Federated Hermes said Hestia would “embody” its responsible property investment agenda by “linking each individual development to a wider virtual community of residents”.

The approach is designed to help the company communicate consistently with residents about “positive environmental and community outcomes” and to listen to their needs.

Hermes, which merged with Federated Investors earlier this year, has been investing in private-rented housing on behalf of the £55bn (€60bn) BT Pension Scheme since 2014, when it launched a fund with Countrywide, the Vista UK Residential Real Estate Fund.

BT Pension Scheme will provide capital to “deliver the Hestia-branded” residential developments, Federated Hermes said.

Chris Taylor, CEO of real estate at Federated Hermes, said: “Delivering relevant real estate and positive societal and environmental outcomes for all stakeholders is core to our proposition.

“The launch of Hestia today allows us to build on this responsible approach and developing our existing residential portfolio further in an area where we are seeing exciting investment opportunities.”

Will Gibby, director of fund management at Federated Hermes, said: “The launch of the Hestia brand provides the residential team with a basis from which to drive long-term future growth and investment into this part of the business, positioning it alongside other key players in the industry.

“The Hestia team is taking a holistic view in delivering affordable and mid-market range residential assets that will have a positive impact on the environment and communities in which they are located and good return potential for our investor [BP Pension Scheme].”

The two new acquisitions are Axion House, a shared-ownership and social-rent development in Lewisham, South East London, and two adjoining build-to-rent (BTR) sites in central Leeds.

Axion House, which comprises 141 new apartments, has been awarded planning consent and is undergoing enabling works to support the launch of construction.

The development in Leeds will produce 333 apartments and 12,200sqft of retail, restaurant and amenity space.

Existing assets joining the Hestia brand include The Cargo Building, a 324-unit residential scheme in Liverpool, which recently achieved a world first BREEAM In-Use Residential certification, and 164-unit Pomona Wharf in Manchester.

A previous version of this article suggest that Hestia, the operational company, was owned by BT Pension Scheme. Federated Hermes owns Hestia, which will manage assets owned by BT Pension Scheme