Dear Hackney Borough Council,

I would like to request the following information:

1) The full details of what real estate assets the Hackney Pension Fund currently invests in, including the name and amounts of each type of real estate asset or investment being held.

This information should be broken down into the different
categories, including:
- Listed Real Estate securities;
Unlisted/Private Real Estate Property Funds/vehicles, companies or CIS;
- Directly held properties ; and
- (listed/unlisted) Real Estate Debt Funds/vehicles.

In the case of any unlisted real estate vehicles or real estate debt vehicles, the domicile of the underlying assets should be included.

A full list of all the companies, vehicles, CIS etc in which the Pension Fund invests in or has an outstanding commitment to should be covered in the above question. This list should include the names of each company and the amount invested in each company etc.

2) The current yields of the different investments the pension fund holds.

3) Can you clearly specify the total value of all real estate investments that the Pension Fund holds.

4) I would like to receive this information in an unlocked excel sheet without protected cells (.xls). If you have to password protect the excel sheet, please can you also provide the password to the excel
sheet.
5) Please supply a copy of the Pension Scheme’s latest Statement of Investment Principles and most recent Pension Fund Report & Accounts.
I would like to receive the information in electronic format if possible. If one part of the request can be answered sooner than others, please send that information first followed by any subsequent data. If you need further clarification, please contact me by email.

Many public authorities release their contracts, minutes and other information of interactions with private vendors in line with the Freedom of Information Act. The exemption for commercial interest
under the Act (section 43) is a qualified exemption, which means information can only be withheld if it is in the public's interest.
The public have an interest in knowing what the Pension Fund is investing in, the terms of contracts and the minutes of meeting with public authorities, whether or not public money changes hands immediately.

If you are relying on section 41 (the exemption for legal breach of confidence) then I would like to know the following:

* When these confidentially agreements were agreed
* All correspondence and email in which these confidentiality agreements were discussed
* The precise wording of the confidentiality agreements.

I ask these questions because guidance issued by both the Lord Chancellor (draft guidance on FOI implementation) and the Office of Government Commerce (Model terms and conditions for goods and services) specifically state that public authorities should not enter into these types of agreements; they go directly against the spirit of the laws of disclosure. I would also point to the
Information Commissioner's guidance on accepting blanket commercial confidentiality agreements: 'Unless confidentiality clauses are necessary or reasonable, there is a real risk that, in the event of
a complaint, the Commissioner would order disclosure in any case.'(i)

Finally, within the law of confidence there is also a public interest test. Therefore, the information should be disclosed in full. If any parts are redacted they must be for information that can be proven to be a legal breach of confidence in court, and only then where secrecy can be shown to be in the public interest. These are difficult positions to argue when public money is at stake or where a public authority is offering a private company a monopoly to charge its stakeholders.

I reserve the right to appeal your decision to withhold any information or to charge excessive fees, and understand that under the act, I am entitled to a response within 20 working days. I would be grateful if you could confirm in writing that you have received this request.

Yours faithfully,

Samuel Hall

hackney@infreemation.co.uk, Hackney Borough Council

Thank you for your information request.

This is an automated response and acknowledgement. If you have submitted a
request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or the Environmental
Information Regulations (EIR), we will aim to respond within the statutory
timescale of 20 working days.

hackney@infreemation.co.uk, Hackney Borough Council

2 Attachments

Dear  Mr Hall

 

Re: Freedom of Information Request.

Thank you for your request for information under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000, received 29 January 2019. Your request has been
considered and our response is in bold below.

 

You requested the following: 

I would like to request the following information:
1) The full details of what real estate assets the Hackney Pension Fund
currently invests in, including the name and amounts of each type of real
estate asset or investment being held.
This information should be broken down into the different
categories, including:
- Listed Real Estate securities; 
Unlisted/Private Real Estate Property Funds/vehicles, companies or CIS;
- Directly held properties ; and
- (listed/unlisted) Real Estate Debt Funds/vehicles. 
In the case of any unlisted real estate vehicles or real estate debt
vehicles, the domicile of the underlying assets should be included.
A full list of all the companies, vehicles, CIS etc in which the Pension
Fund invests in or has an outstanding commitment to should be covered in
the above question. This list should include the names of each company and
the amount invested in each company etc.
2) The current yields of the different investments the pension fund
holds..
3) Can you clearly specify the total value of all real estate investments
that the Pension Fund holds.
4) I would like to receive this information in an unlocked excel sheet
without protected cells (.xls). If you have to password protect the excel
sheet, please can you also provide the password to the excel
sheet.
5) Please supply a copy of the Pension Scheme's latest Statement of
Investment Principles and most recent Pension Fund Report & Accounts. 
 

The Council’s Response

1)The full details of what real estate assets the Hackney Pension Fund
currently invests in, including the name and amounts of each type of real
estate asset or investment being held. This information should be broken
down into the different categories, including: - Listed Real Estate
securities; Unlisted/Private Real Estate Property Funds/vehicles,
companies or CIS; - Directly held properties ; and - (listed/unlisted)
Real Estate Debt Funds/vehicles.In the case of any unlisted real estate
vehicles or real estate debt vehicles, the domicile of the underlying
assets should be included. A full list of all the companies, vehicles, CIS
etc in which the Pension Fund invests in or has an outstanding commitment
to should be covered in the above question. This list should include the
names of each company and the amount invested in each company etc.

The Hackney Pension Fund has no direct property holdings; all of its
property exposure is held via unlisted property funds. These are detailed
in the attached Excel workbook.

 

2) The current yields of the different investments the pension fund holds.

Please refer to the attached Excel workbook

 

3) Can you clearly specify the total value of all real estate investments
that the Pension Fund holds.

Please refer to the attached Excel workbook

 

4) I would like to receive this information in an unlocked excel sheet
without protected cells (.xls). If you have to password protect the excel
sheet, please can you also provide the password to the excel sheet.

Please refer to the attached Excel workbook

 

5) Please supply a copy of the Pension Scheme’s latest Statement of
Investment Principles and most recent Pension Fund Report & Accounts.

Please refer to the attached pdf. The Pension Fund is required by law to
prepare an Investment Strategy Statement, which takes the place of the
Statement of Investment Principles. This is included within the Report and
Accounts document.

 

Appeals & Complaints Procedure

If you are dissatisfied with this response and wish to appeal, please
write to the Information Management Team and this will be dealt with
through our Internal Review procedure.

Information Management Team - Governance

London Borough of Hackney

Hackney Service Centre

1 Hillman Street

London E8 1DY

[1][Hackney Borough Council request email]

 

Your request for an internal review should be submitted to us within 40
working days of receipt by you of this response. Any such request received
after this time will only be considered at the discretion of the Council.

 

If you are still not satisfied following the Internal Review, you have a
right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at the contact details
provided below.

 

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF 

Telephone: 01625 545 700

[2]www.ico.org.uk

 

Yours sincerely

 

Information Management Team

ICT Services
London Borough of Hackney    

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Hackney Borough Council request email]
2. http://www.ico.cgov.uk/