The £82bn (€96bn) Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) has made a strategic investment in UK property lender Pluto Finance.

Pluto Finance said the pension scheme for universities and other higher education institutions in the UK, has made a “significant minority investment” in the company to enable a major expansion of the business.

In addition, USS has committed £75m as a cornerstone investor alongside Pluto’s sixth development lending vehicle, which is targeting a £300m capital raise. The new commitment will supplement the existing £840m of institutional capital currently supporting Pluto’s lending activities.

Pluto closed its first real estate debt vehicle in 2011 and since then has lent over £2bn across more than 200 real estate loans.

Justin Faiz, co-founder of Pluto Finance, said: “We are delighted to be working with USS. With its size, long-term perspective and commitment to the UK, USS is the perfect partner to help Pluto with its next phase of growth to become the leading one-stop shop for all types of UK property finance.

“Its support will allow us to expand our team and move into adjacent lending strategies, whilst maintaining the quick turnaround and flexibility that our borrowers have come to expect from Pluto.”

Eamon Ray, senior investment director, private markets group at USS Investment Management, said: “USS is delighted to have established this strategic partnership with Pluto, highlighting our commitment to long-term investment in the UK particularly in critical sectors such as residential housing.

“The UK faces a chronic housing shortage and the sector requires long-term sustainable capital to meet national targets. We believe our partnership with a leading specialist in this sector will help bridge this gap in provision whilst providing our members with attractive returns to fund their pensions.”

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