Man Group, the world’s largest listed hedge fund manager, has launched a bid to raise an initial £400m from investors as part an overall aim to build 3,500 new affordable homes in the UK by 2026.
The London-based fund manager yesterday formally launched its Man GPM RI Community Housing Fund with a target of raising £400m by July next year.
The move is part of a strategy first unveiled by FTSE-listed Man Group in 2019 when it revealed its intention to launch into the UK affordable housing market, through its real and corporate assets arm Man Global Private Markets (Man GPM).
Social Housing also reported at the time that the fund manager was looking to launch its own for-profit registered provider. Social Housing understands this remains Man Group’s intention.
While the new fund is only just formally launching, it has already attracted investors through a ’first close’ – including a £20m commitment from government agency Homes England.
It comes after the agency last month committed £10m to a targeted £500m fund set up by investor M&G to deliver shared ownership homes.
Two local government pension schemes – Swansea and Strathclyde – and social impact investment firm Big Society Capital, and Schroder BSC Social Impact Trust have also committed undisclosed amounts to Man GPM’s new fund.
Man Group has also allocated £10m of its own capital to the fund and “further commitments” are expected in the “coming months”, according to the firm.
The fund has so far committed to build 363 new homes in England. Last month it acquired 95 homes from Crest Nicholson and in December it agreed a £31m deal with offsite housing specialist Ilke Homes for a 14.6-acre site in Lincolnshire. The fund has also invested £12m in 41 homes in Lewes, East Sussex.
The total current pipeline consists of 12 schemes covering around 2,000 homes, Man Group said.
Shamez Alibhai, head of community housing and portfolio manager at Man GPM, branded the £400m commitment as an “exciting milestone”.
He added: “Increasing the amount of socially responsible capital in the affordable housing space is good for communities and the people who live and work locally, but also for investors who are committed to achieving demonstrable returns and creating positive social and environmental change.”
Man Group, former sponsor of the Booker Prize, has been among a number of private investors to enter the social housing sector of late, including private equity giant Blackstone, through for-profit provider Sage Housing, and Legal & General through its own for-profit registered provider.