PIP seals £125m first close on multi-strategy fund

The £1bn vehicle, launched last month, is the UK pension platform’s first since becoming a full-fledged manager in January.

The UK’s Pensions Infrastructure Platform (PIP) has reached a first close on its Multi-Strategy Infrastructure Fund with £125 million ($181 million; €161 million) in investor commitments.

The milestone comes little more than a month after the platform launched the vehicle, for which it is looking to raise up to £1 billion. The fund has a minimum commitment of £1 million, allowing schemes “of any size, including the smallest”, to invest in infrastructure, PIP said in a statement.

The platform was given the green light last January from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the UK’s financial regulator, to become a full-scope Alternative Investment Fund Manager (AIFM).

The multi-strategy fund’s first close allows PIP to make further advances in the world of direct investing, which it sees as the latest step in its attempts to provide UK pensions with a low-cost, transparent channel to access the asset class.

The vehicle will target sectors including transportation, renewable energy, utilities, telecoms, housing and social infrastructure. It will keep to a long-term, buy-and-hold investment strategy focused on generating low-risk, inflation-linked cashflows.

The fund also features a co-investment programme for larger pensions looking to reap the benefits of greater scale, PIP said.

In early March, PIP hired non-executive director Isabel Liu, an industry veteran whose CV includes setting up four infrastructure fund management businesses. Her appointment followed the hire of Ed Wilson and Paula Burgess last August, respectively as PIP's first investment director and chief operating officer.

Aside from its debut fund, PIP is deploying money via the Dalmore PPP Equity PIP Fund and Aviva Investors' PIP Solar Photovoltaics Fund – which have respective sizes of more than £500 million and £130 million – as well as a £370 million co-investment alongside Dalmore in the £4.2 billion Thames Tideway Tunnel.

The platform in July passed the halfway point towards its fundraising target by collecting more the £1 billion.