In her newly expanded role, Laura Mason, Director of Direct Investments at Legal & General Capital (LGC), is responsible for setting the direct investment strategy for L&G’s principal balance sheet. As part of this she has also become the Head of Urban Regeneration and Energy – two of the strategic sectors in which L&G is planning to spend a further £2bn over the next five years.
Following its recent successful investments in the Cardiff’s £400m Central Square project and Leeds’ £400m Thorpe Park scheme, under Government’s RIO initiative, LGC is now involved in over £2.4bn (GDV) of regeneration projects in the UK, up from £1bn a year ago. As a result it now has access to a portfolio of nine strategically important regeneration schemes that are fast transforming and reshaping Britain’s landscape, bringing jobs and housing back into the centre of cities and better utilising our existing infrastructure. This is rapid progress for L&G’s urban regeneration strategy and demonstrates the significant role that L&G can play in working with public and private sector partners to bring about UK economic growth.
Over the last four years Laura has played a pivotal role in the development and expansion of L&G’s in-house direct investment capabilities, significantly increasing the annuity business’ access to real assets and helping to establish Legal & General Capital, the area of the business responsible for investing L&G’s capital strategically in direct investments in order to improve shareholders returns. This involves ensuring LGC’s activities fit within the wider Group strategy, as well as securing a pipeline of attractive investment opportunities and liaising closely with both the insurance and investment management businesses to maximise the ancillary business revenues that the investments can generate.
Paul Stanworth, Managing Director of Legal & General Capital, commented: “Holding a key commercial role within the business, Laura demonstrates the quality of individuals delivering L&G’s success, whilst leading the drive to progress the careers of women in leadership positions. L&G is committed to a 50/50 target by 2020 across the group as balanced diversity in senior management roles is crucial in building the future growth of the business. Under Laura’s leadership, our direct investment strategy has made exceptionally strong progress – providing the wider group with access to new clients and strategically important businesses, and our shareholders with improved quality earnings.”
Seeking to create new institutional asset classes and generate improved high quality earnings for the business, LGC’s four major strategic sectors comprise of UK Housing, UK Urban Regeneration, Alternative Finance and Clean Energy. All of these sectors require long term capital and face reduced bank support. They also reflect L&G’s aim to invest into socially and economically useful assets.