Danish institutions PensionDanmark and Industriens Pension have won the Direct Strategy and ESG/Sustainability categories, respectively, at the maiden IPE Real Assets & Infrastructure Global Investor Awards.

PensionDanmark’s direct infrastructure strategy is a “market-leading offering and one of the pioneers of direct real assets investing by pension schemes in Europe”, according to one of the judges. ”It clearly shows the value of infrastructure assets in pension portfolios.”

Industriens Pension’s entry was described as “outstanding”. One judge said: “Great to see commitments to emerging markets, alongside major investments in the green transition in more established markets – a recognition of the fact that climate goals and the SDGs won’t be achieved without major new investments in emerging markets.”

Dutch pension fund investor APG Asset Management and UK pension fund NEST were recognised as Highly Commended for the Direct Strategy and ESG/Sustainability categories, respectively, at the online award ceremony.

NEST, which has become the largest workplace pension scheme in the UK, was also handed a special commendation for Newcomer, recognising innovation in an area where strong leadership was desperately required, it was said.

One judge explained: “The ethos of the organisation and the investment structure and methodology that they have created is impressive and worthy of recognition [and it was the only] entry to mention commitment to net-zero and Paris alignment.

“It has a strong relationship with chosen external managers and solution on how to invest DC funds in illiquid assets. Their approach is outstanding and they would have been my top pick if they had a track record of investing in infrastructure which will come in time.”

The SEK449.4bn (€44.3bn) Swedish national pension fund, AP4, was awarded the Indirect Strategy category award during the ceremony leaving Denmark’s Industriens Pension to pick up the Highly Commended award in the same category.

One judge said AP4 demonstrated “impressive long-term rolling return profiles, collaborating with other like-minded institutions to improve scale and minimise fees, and a very thoughtful approach to ESG.”

To read the digital edition of the latest IPE Real Assets magazine click here.