Nuveen Real Estate launches global impact investing sector

Nuveen Real Estate has announced the launch of a global impact investing sector that aims to address some of the most pressing social and environmental challenges in the US, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region (APAC).

Nadir Settles (pictured) will serve as global head of impact investing and Pamela West as senior portfolio manager, impact investing.

The new global real estate sector aims to support growth goals of up to $15bn in real estate AUM by 2026.

The mandate is designed to improve communities by providing supportive services, enhancing residents’ quality of life and financial outcomes and ensuring affordable, sustainable and climate safe housing, while at the same time supporting Nuveen Real Estate’s commitment to making its global property portfolio net-zero carbon by 2040.

“Nuveen is a pioneer in impact investing and we are competitively positioned to deliver a market-leading sector globally and at scale,” said Chris McGibbon, global head of real estate at Nuveen.

“Under Nadir and Pamela’s leadership, I am confident this new sector will address some of the most pressing challenges in local real estate across the globe, while creating an avenue for investors to have a significant impact through their capital investment.”

The new real estate impact sector will invest in early-stage projects and take an impact-led approach to increase the supply of social and affordable housing by targeting low-income and disadvantaged populations, while also focusing on regeneration projects within healthcare, education, and transportation services.

“By leveraging Nuveen Real Estate’s industry expertise, we are going beyond just affordable housing to focus our attention on community revitalisation,” said Settles.

“We see an immediate opportunity to scale our strategy and leverage our leading position in the industry to support tenant well-being and create a more sustainable future.”

Settles will report directly to Carly Tripp, global chief investment officer and head of investments at Nuveen Real Estate, and lead an international team across the US, Europe and APAC in identifying and pursuing relevant real estate impact investments, while growing the overall sector.

He will continue to lead investments as head of the New York office.

West will continue to oversee the framework’s strategy, portfolio construction and client relationships. She reports to Shawn Lese, chief investment officer and head of funds management, Americas at Nuveen Real Estate.

The real estate global impact investing sector builds on Nuveen’s overall efforts in impact.

Last month, the firm expanded its range of impact investing strategies to Europe with the launch of the German living impact platform, led by portfolio manager Tanja Volksheimer, to deliver social and environmental impact through affordable housing.

The news also comes on the heels of the final close of the firm’s first private equity impact fund, which targets investments that promote energy efficiency and an expansion of services for underserved communities.

Abigail Dean, global head of strategic insights at Nuveen, commented: “Around the world we see a trend toward real estate as an effective tool for positive change for communities.

“Working as partners, local communities and real estate owners can meet shared objectives and tackle local challenges, from sustainability and mitigating climate risk, to healthcare, housing and social exclusion. The built environment offers an exciting opportunity to deliver measurable impact across a range of assets, projects and locations.”

Ainslie McLennan, head of UK balanced funds at Nuveen, added: “Real estate is a natural home for impact investing, because the built environment shape’s peoples lives and plays a fundamental role in the social fabric of communities.

“Real estate owners can support social inclusion by investing in underserved areas and focusing on buildings that meet genuine community needs and have a sustainable future. As well as delivering affordable housing there is an opportunity to support wider community uses through mixed-use and other asset types, which offers diversification as well as local impact.

“In the UK, impact also complements the wider levelling up agenda and local authorities’ objectives for regeneration and a sustainable recovery after the pandemic.”

Nuveen made its first investment in impact in the 1980s and has since invested over $500m in direct and indirect private equity capital across over 200 portfolio companies in alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Nuveen manages more than $5.8bn across all of its public and private markets impact investing strategies.

Nuveen Real Estate has more than $152bn of assets under management.