Railpen wins Investment & Pensions Europe (IPE) ESG Award 2021

Last night, Investment & Pensions Europe (IPE) announced the winners of their awards at their annual Conference & Awards event. Railpen, which manages investment and administration for the £35 billion railways pension schemes, is proud to announce that they were the winner of the ESG Award.

The judges sought clear evidence of a carefully conceived, innovative and well executed socially responsible and environmentally protective policy across all the invested asset classes. Railpen demonstrated its enduring commitment and action on sustainability issues, its industry-leading Net Zero Plan, and its collaborative efforts with external partners, including efforts to ensure fair treatment for workers throughout and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Railpen also evidenced the sustainability practices ingrained in its investment strategy, and detailed the holistic approach to secure members' financial and environmental future.

Michael Marshall, Head of Sustainable Ownership, said: "We are delighted to have won such a respected award. It's a testament to the commitment of the entire Railpen team, who invest for our members and deliver sustainable returns for the future".

John Chilman, Chief Executive, said: "Railpen has always advocated for ESG initiatives and been a pioneer in delivering meaningful, sustainable ownership practices. It is great to have our work recognised, but the journey is far from over. We are committed to our purpose, to secure our members' future - delivering the returns needed in a way that can help create a better future for our members to retire in. We will continue to lead the way on ESG practices and action as this is key to fulfilling our purpose".

Railpen includes members in sustainability outreach

Today, Railpen, which runs the £35 billion railways pension schemes, launched their sustainable ownership report for members, Driving the change we want to see.

The report clearly details Railpen's sustainability endeavours, highlighting the investment manager’s approach to integrating ESG considerations and issues in investment decisions, the steps they take to improve company behaviour around these issues, and their impact on behalf of their members. It has been designed to be as accessible to members as possible, with case studies on issues such as climate change and executive pay, minimal use of jargon and a glossary of key concepts and terms.

The report's launch precedes Railpen's first ever formal member survey on sustainability/sustainable ownership issues, which will be issued later in November. The survey will include questions on members' views on climate action, workforce treatment and human rights. Findings from the survey will then be further explored in member roundtables and discussions.

Caroline Escott, Senior Investment Manager, said: "COP26 has placed the climate emergency at the forefront of everyone’s minds while Covid-19 has highlighted the interconnectedness of our economy, environment and society. It’s therefore more important than ever that we talk with, and listen to, our members about how we do sustainable ownership. We take our role as stewards very seriously and this report shows how we are walking the walk, working to achieve impact on our members’ behalf and creating a better future to retire in”.

John Chilman, Chief Executive, said: "Our purpose is to secure our members' future. We have a rich legacy of advocacy on sustainable ownership – it makes sense both for our investment returns and for helping to create the kind of world our members want to retire into. Our investments are predicated on investment beliefs and our sustainable ownership values. One of our priorities is ensuring the application of our capital to deliver positive impacts on the regions and sectors that our members live in, so that they can see and reap the benefits of their investments in more ways than one. Driving the change we want to see clearly and concisely shows how we are doing just that".

Railpen welcomes Ellen Watson-Hicks as Chief Risk & Compliance Officers

Railpen, which runs the £35 billion railways pension schemes, has welcomed Ellen Watson-Hicks as its first Chief Risk & Compliance Officer.

Ellen has a wealth of experience as a qualified accountant with over 20 years working in financial services. She joined Railpen from the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), where she was Head of Enterprise Risk. Before that, she held various roles in TP ICAP, Tullett Prebon, Nomura International PLC and Aviva.

This Executive Committee appointment comes as Railpen establishes its new Risk function.

Ellen said: “I am delighted to be joining Railpen in the newly-established role of Chief Risk & Compliance Officer. Some excellent work has been done to create a robust risk management framework, which I look forward to helping Railpen embed throughout the business.”

John Chilman, Chief Executive, said: “Ellen’s appointment is an important part of our commitment to identifying and managing risk in a complex environment. We are very pleased to be welcoming her to the business, with the knowledge that her extensive experience will be crucial in helping us to deliver on our purpose, to secure our members’ future.”

Railpen welcomes Sally-Ann James as General Counsel

Railpen, which runs the £35 billion railways pension schemes, has welcomed Sally-Ann James as General Counsel.

Sally-Ann, a former winner of the acclaimed Legal 500 UK Awards In-House Individual of the Year for Banking, joined from Metro Bank PLC. Having previously held roles in The Co-operative Banking Group, Sally-Ann brings with her decades of experience in the financial sector.

Sally-Ann said: “I am very pleased to be joining as General Counsel at this very exciting time for the business, as Benefits Administration, our Fiduciary Services and Investment Management come together under one name, Railpen.  I am looking forward to building an effective Legal Function and delivering legal services that meet the needs of the business, ensuring we deliver on our purpose of securing our members’ future”.

John Chilman, Chief Executive Officer said: “I am delighted to be welcoming Sally-Ann to Railpen at this exciting time. Her track record of building teams positions her perfectly to assess and build-out Railpen’s Legal capability, to support the entire business. Creating a strong team that can deliver in our complex environment, will help us collectively deliver on our purpose, and position us for future growth.”

Railpen wins PLSA Retirement Living Standards awards

Railpen, has won the inaugural award for Saver Engagement from the Pension and Lifetime Savings Association’s Retirement Living Standards Awards.

The Retirement Living Standards Awards are a new initiative which recognise excellence in adopting the Retirement Living Standards for communications to pension scheme members. The Retirement Living Standards (RLS) are designed to help savers picture the lifestyle they want in retirement and understand the costs.

The Trustee of the railways pension schemes and Railpen has been a long-term champion of member empowerment through engagement and education. To help members better understand their retirement goals – and how to achieve them – Railpen developed the Retirement Budgeting Calculator tool. The calculator, which forms part of a comprehensive suite of tools and guidance content, allows a member to tailor the underlying RLS data to get a personalised savings target. Over 15,000 members have used the tool since launch, with the majority giving it top marks, 10 out of 10, for both their satisfaction with the tool and its ease of use.

Commenting on the win, the PLSA said: “They (Railpen) integrated the Retirement Living Standards through multi-channel member-friendly engagement campaigns in both text and visual formats, and a new easy-to-use online budget calculator tool which supports members through a personalised and tangible target they can use to assess whether their savings are on track.”

Rachel McCaffery, from Railpen’s Customer Experience team, said: “Railpen is dedicated to the single purpose to secure our members’ futures. This calculator is an important part of our commitment to that purpose and we are delighted that members value it. The PLSA’s Retirement Living Standards data helps us ensure this tool remains up to date and a credible source of information that our members can rely on.”

The Old George Mall welcomes Wilding

Railpen has announced the opening of Wilding, an independent café, wine bar and restaurant, at Old George Mall in Salisbury. The deal reinforces the food and beverage offering at the shopping centre and its position as the premier shopping destination in Salisbury.  

The multi award-winning Somerset-based operator has opened its second Wilding restaurant in the former Café Rouge at Old George Mall. The restaurant is the company’s third overall, sitting alongside sister brand Eight Stony Street, which is based in Frome. Occupying 3,724 sq ft, Wilding also features a dedicated wine shop where customers can purchase many of the wines on offer in the bar, as well as a café for people to enjoy fresh coffee. The wine bar stocks over 350 wines from around the world whilst the restaurant aims to source as many products locally as possible.  

The opening of a quality local operator adds to the impressive existing food and beverage offering at Old George Mall, which includes café Boston Tea Party and burger chain Byron Burgers.  

Mahmoud Attia, Asset Manager at Railpen, commented: “We are delighted to welcome Wilding to Salisbury, and to be supporting the business’ growth.  With their many awards, huge selection of wines and reputation for quality food, Wilding adds something special to Old George Mall. The signing also demonstrates Railpen’s commitment to securing local, independent businesses to complement leading high street brands at the centre.” 

Wilding’s opening gives visitors to Old George Mall a chance to dine in an award-winning restaurant. It has won the Best Hybrid Retailer Award at the 2021 Drinks Retailing Awards, Best Restaurant at the 2020 Bath Life Awards and Best Newcomer at the 2019 Crumbs Awards. Wilding and Eight Stony Street are both committed to sustainability and local produce, and will be sharing suppliers wherever possible 

Kent Barker, Founder of Wilding, said: “We are very excited to have opened at Old George Mall in Salisbury for our second Wilding restaurant and third overall with Eight Stony Street in Frome. The restaurant complements our sister brand Eight Stony Street, giving us a chance to share local suppliers and delivering a sustainable dining experience.  The location is perfect for us, with Old George Mall the prime retail destination in Salisbury, attracting considerable footfall from Salisbury and the wider catchment area. We look forward to the future here in Salisbury at Old George Mall.” 

Railpen, the investment manager for the £35bn Railways Pension Scheme, owns and manages the retail destination known as Old George Mall. 

Time Retail acted for Railpen, and Everard Cole represented Wilding. 

Dune London steps into Caledonia Park

Railpen, the investment manager for the £35bn Railways Pension Scheme, has announced that Dune London, the international affordable luxury shoe retailer, has opened at Caledonia Park, formerly known as Gretna Outlet Village, Scotland’s premier designer village

Spanning 1,025 sq ft, the new Dune London store showcases all the latest shoes from the brand’s men and women’s ranges, from casual wear to formalwear, including heels, knee-high boots, trainers and Chelsea boots.  In addition, the store stocks Dune London’s range of bags and accessories for women and men. 

The signing coincides with Caledonia Park’s strong recovery from the successive lockdowns, with sales up 8% between April and September this year compared to the same period in 2019. 

Mahmoud Attia, Asset Manager at Railpen, commented: “Dune London opening at Caledonia Park gives our customers even more designer fashion choice, complementing our unique line-up of leading brands.  The strength of our offer is reflected in the centre’s performance, with sales significantly ahead of both 2019 and industry benchmarks.  With such a high-quality line-up of brands, we are confident this growth will continue”. 

Daniel Rubin, CEO and Founder of Dune London added: “We are delighted to have opened at Caledonia Park, which marks a new chapter in our ongoing expansion.  It is a high-quality destination with significant regional appeal that is benefitting from the investment being made to enhance the experience for visitors.  Caledonia Park is the perfect home for Dune London, and we are already welcoming new customers from north and south of the border.” 

Dune London is the latest in a series of brands to join Caledonia Park.  Other recent additions include the first pop-up outlet store for luxury label, Johnstons of Elgin, which joins Polo Ralph Lauren Hugo BOSS, adidas, Reebok, Levi’s and Nike in creating a unique line-up in the region. 

Railpen has also undertaken a comprehensive refurbishment program at Caledonia Park, including revitalisation of public realm, enhancement of the units, and improved landscaping and public realm. 

Time Retail Partners and Johnstone Property acted for Caledonia Park.  Dune London dealt directly.  

RPMI becomes Railpen

Today we are announcing the rebrand of RPMI to Railpen, effective immediately.

The board, supported by the Trustee of the Railways Pension Scheme, took this decision following a number of years of transition and service improvement.

Commenting on the rebrand, Mike Craston, Chair of Railpen, said:

“We are incredibly proud to have been born out of the rail industry and that we continue to support the members within it. We are equally proud of the last 22 years in which we have served the needs of our third party clients, their schemes and members from a wide variety of sectors within our TPA business.”

While never an official brand name until now, the name Railpen is known around the world for its thought leadership. Over the years, Railpen has been a clear and unwavering voice in our industry for transparency, sustainable ownership, good corporate governance and member engagement to name but a few. The business will continue to play an active role across the industry in championing best practice and adequate pension provision to support life after work.

John Chilman, CEO of Railpen said:

“We are privileged to support some of the UK’s largest and most complex schemes and their members. This enables us to understand the needs of these schemes and, as importantly, the diverse needs of their members. The schemes we support seek to provide outstanding retirement benefits for their hard-working members and we are proud to use our skills and knowledge to play a part in securing their futures.

Strong relationships, mutual understanding and a passion for supporting pension scheme members has been the foundation of Railpen throughout its history and will be at the centre of everything we do in the future. This is why our purpose as a business, shared by all our colleagues is ‘to secure our members future’”.

First Base and RPMI Railpen submit plans for £155 million Devonshire Gardens in Cambridge City centre

New sustainable neighbourhood will deliver 120,000 sq ft of well-being-focused workspace and 100 Build-to-Rent homes set in a new public park

Developer First Base and RPMI Railpen (“Railpen”), the investment manager for the £35 billion railways pension scheme, have submitted plans for Devonshire Gardens, a new sustainable neighbourhood in the heart of Cambridge.

The mixed-use scheme, which Buckley Gray Yeoman has designed, will transform a three-acre site currently utilised as a Travis Perkins depot into a new neighbourhood set around a new public park, comprising 120,000 sq ft of modern, wellbeing-focused workspace, 100 Build-to-Rent homes and various community facilities, including a creche, pavilion and artists’ studios.

The workspace will be delivered across two new buildings designed to meet the needs of corporates and fast-growing businesses, providing a range of flexible floorplates and adaptable spaces for collaboration. The buildings are designed to exceed the highest possible environmental standards with roof-top solar panels, rainwater harvesting, greywater recycling and the optimisation of natural light.

The new homes will comprise a mix of apartments, all available to rent at market or discounted rates. The homes are designed to meet the city’s net-zero carbon ambitions and will be powered by electricity from renewable sources, with no reliance on fossil fuels.

The buildings will be connected by a landscaped public park featuring over 120 trees, hundreds of new plant species and a community food garden. The scheme will also create new walkways and cycle paths, improving connectivity to Cambridge rail station and supporting the ambition for Devonshire Gardens to be an ultra-sustainable car-free neighbourhood.

Devonshire Gardens will be delivered in accordance with the One Planet Living principles and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The development will increase biodiversity on the site by almost 400% and has been designed to support Cambridge City Council’s Climate Change Strategy.

Barry Jessup, Chief Executive, First Base said: “Devonshire Gardens has been designed to become an exemplar long-term mixed-use development which combines highly sustainable workspace with much-need high quality homes, all based around a major new green park in central Cambridge. We have been working hard with Railpen to create a best-in-class long-term investment that will have very strong environmental credentials, provide excellent health and wellbeing facilities to both our residential and commercial tenants, and create real value for the existing local community.”

Richard van Lente, Senior Development Manager at Railpen said: “We are delighted to partner with First Base to create a development which enhances the Cambridge community, supports our sustainability, environmental and wellbeing targets, while at the same time also offering the potential for significant returns through capital growth or income.

“Railpen already holds significant investments in Cambridge and will continue to look for further opportunities to invest in economically, socially and physically relevant opportunities in places where people want to live, work and play.

“We consistently seek to enhance our assets through hands-on, expert management and targeted value-add initiatives. Our approach delivers attractive risk-adjusted returns for our members that will help secure their futures and strong economic and social improvements for the communities in which we invest.”

To find out more about Devonshire Gardens visit: www.devonshiregardenscambridge.com

RPMI Railpen launches internal trading desk

RPMI Railpen (Railpen), the provider of investment and administrative services to the Railways Pension Scheme, has launched its internal trading desk to further enhance its in-house capabilities. Over recent years Railpen has continued its ambition to serve the Scheme with a transparent and increasingly cost-effective investment service. This work has seen the management of a number of asset classes brought in house and an associated increase in trading activity.

By the end of Q3 2021, Railpen expects to support all trading activity via the internal desk. Investment Director Rachit Sharma led the project and will continue managing Railpen’s trading arrangements with Head Trader Tom O’Kelly, who joined earlier this year, leading day-to-day execution.

Rachit said, “Internalising our trading desk delivers many benefits, ultimately for the Scheme’s members. The new desk will enable us to seize opportunities quickly, reduce complexity, and have increased control over our risks while lowering the costs associated with trading.”

Craig Heron, Head of Public Markets and project sponsor, said, “This would be an exciting and challenging project under any circumstances. The fact we have delivered it during successive lockdowns and via remote working is a testament to the strong collaboration and dedication of many of the teams across Railpen to our purpose ‘to secure our members’ future’.”