Senior hires for UK’s £3bn green bank

The UK Green Investment Bank has moved closer to going live with the formation of the public company and the appointment of Lord Smith as chair and Sir Adrian Montague as deputy chair.

The UK Green Investment Bank (UK GIB) – set up to accelerate renewable energy investment across the UK – is closer to being up and running, with the public company having been formed and its top two directors appointed.

Lord Smith of Kelvin takes on the role of chair. The current chair of energy firm SSE and engineering solutions firm Weir Group, Lord Smith also chaired the group set up by the Financial Reporting Council in 2003 to clarify the role of audit committees.

Meanwhile, Sir Adrian Montague becomes deputy chair and senior independent director. He is the chair of private equity and infrastructure investment firm 3i and utility Anglian Water Group and has also been chairing the GIB Advisory Council, a nine-member advisory group that has been helping the government to set up the bank.

The UK GIB is to be headquartered in Edinburgh, with an office in London. The two-office approach is designed to enable a greater commercial reach than could be achieved from just one location.

Legislation was recently introduced, under the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, to set the bank’s green purpose, embed its independence and make funding provision for the bank. It is expected to launch in the autumn.

The bank has been allocated £3 billion (€3.6 billion; $4.7 billion) from the government which will serve as its initial capital until 2015.

Ahead of obtaining state aid approval for the GIB, the UK government has been making investments in green infrastructure on commercial terms. In April, an initial £80 million was committed to two fund managers – Foresight Group (£50 million) and Greensphere Capital (£30 million) – for investment in small-scale waste infrastructure on behalf of the Business, Innovation and Skills department’s UK Green Investments team.

A further £100 million has been made available for investment in the non-domestic energy efficiency sector, with a competition for fund managers launched in April and the outcome expected in the summer.