UK: Substantial Returns

Last Updated: 26 July 2019
Article by Anthony Hilton

Patient capital is about producing long-term assets with long-term funds

Britain needs to find the next Google or Facebook to be at the forefront of technology in the world to come, the Chancellor Phillip Hammond said at his last Budget. Britain has a lot of good ideas, and a high rate of business formation, but not enough of these come to fruition. Hammond’s big idea was to set up a pool of like-minded pension funds and have them start and scale up new and emerging companies.

The British Business Bank was charged with seeing if this was feasible, and it seems to be. Legal & General, Nest, The People’s Pension and the Tesco Pension Fund among others have agreed to explore the possibility.

There are some obstacles to pension funds holding illiquid investments though none of these should be a problem.

More pressing is the wall of money piling up in pension funds because of the growth of auto enrolment. By 2026 total defined contribution assets are expected to rise to £1 trillion, being £871 billion of contributions and £169 billion of investment return. A lot of this is and will be invested in the stock market but Legal & General is one of those who plans to widen its scope.

Hot on the heels of a £150 million charitable donation to Oxford University by BlackRock’s Stephen Schwarzman, late June saw a £4 billion commitment to Oxford from Legal & General to launch a 50:50 partnership with the university.

L&G expects a return on its money – but it is still probably the first recent commitment by a City institution to fund science parks, world class research and laboratory facilities, office space and housing for staff and students on this scale. The aim is to develop the infrastructure of Oxford so that it can maintain its status as a world leading university.

Currently, Oxford has much of the same problems as London in terms of affordability of housing – or lack of it. If the University is to continue to attract research staff, as well as supporting spinout businesses, something has to be done. Affordable residential and commercial space is a key component of the partnership. Indeed as John Cummins, L&G’s head of its Future City’s Business said: “each groundbreaking discovery depends not just on the academics but on the infrastructure supporting them”.

L&G first uses its balance sheet in the Future Cities fund to buy the infrastructure. These will then become assets for the annuity book to help back pension deals and for the investment management arm for other pension-centric investments in LGIM.

Thus they have a three legged structure of asset funding, asset management and
asset creation.

That is not the only example. L&G has got involved with long-term regeneration projects in Manchester, in collaboration with councils and other bodies, to develop commercial, residential, leisure and infrastructure properties involving £3 billion worth of space.

Likewise in Leeds, there is a £642 million investment programme involving the councils, the university, hospital and social housing, while in Newcastle, the council, the university and L&G are developing the only city centre quarter of its kind in the UK. It is a 24 acre testbed where hundreds of researchers, businesses and progressive home owners will live and work side by side.

It is also involved, as of last autumn, with Bruntwood SciTech, which is the largest property platform dedicated to science and technology businesses. Their 50:50 joint venture envisages property assets going from 1.6 million square feet to 7.2 million square feet over 10 years. A part of this is to change Alderley Park, which was formerly Astra Zeneca’s HQ, into a diverse life sciences hub.

The other thing is that many people do want to invest in small growing companies but cannot get access to them. This is particularly true of millennials who don’t have the guaranteed pensions of baby boomers, nor the property assets of their parents. This ‘exclusivity gap’ has become more and more marked in recent years as private companies stay private for longer – indeed they can have several rounds of funding without having the need to go public.

The unicorns, which are private companies often in high tech, with a value of £1 billion or more, are a case in point. They almost always have equity and debt finance as they expand, but often retail investors are not allowed to participate. Instead they are funded by venture capitalists or some other bodies which exclude small investors. But if things were different and pensions could participate, a beneficiary’s retirement income could be increased substantially with just a moderate allocation to private markets.

Pension funds are patient capital holding for the long-term. L&G is one of the pioneers investing in property, housing and infrastructure for the very long-term. Investing in start-ups and scale-ups seems a natural next step.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions