Dear Scottish Borders Council,

I would like to request the following information:

1) The full details of what real estate assets the Scottish Borders 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

Freedom of Information, Scottish Borders Council

Dear Mr Hall

I acknowledge receipt of your request for information relating to the
above and shall respond within the relevant 20 working day period.

Yours sincerely

Information Management Team

Scottish Borders Council

0300 100 1800

[1][Scottish Borders Council request email]

[2]Web | [3]Twitter | [4]Facebook | [5]Flickr | [6]YouTube

How are you playing [7]#yourpart to help us keep the Borders thriving?

show quoted sections

Freedom of Information, Scottish Borders Council

Dear Samuel Hall

 

I am writing to inform you that there will be a delay in responding to
your request for information.

I hope to be in a position to respond by beginning of next week.

 

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

Yours sincerely

For the

Information Management Team

Scottish Borders Council

Newtown St Boswells

TD6 0SA

E mail:  [email address]

Tel: 0300 100 1800

 

 

show quoted sections

Freedom of Information, Scottish Borders Council

Dear Samuel Hall

Further to your request for information under the Freedom of Information
(Scotland) Act 2002 relating to the above I am now able to respond.

 

The following response was prepared and provided on behalf of Financial
Services:

 

1. Investments in Blackrock UK Long Lease Property Fund £60.3m and UBS
Property Portfolio £38.3m(fund of funds).  No direct investments held. 
All investments UK.

 

I can confirm that Scottish Borders Council has access to detailed
information on property, but it cannot be released to you.

The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 allows a public authority
to withhold information in response to a request, where one or more
exemptions listed in FOI(S)A applies. In this case Scottish Borders
Council believes the following exemption applies: S33(1)(b) Protecting
Commercial Interests.

This is because the Council believes it would be commercially detrimental
to investment managers.

 

2. Yield UBS –  3.9%    yield Blackrock – 4.6%, yields not broken down per
response to question 1.

 

3. Value of each fund shown in answer 1 above, detailed breakdown not
provided per note in response to question 1

 

4. This information is already in the public domain therefore, we are
relying on S25 of the Act.

[1]http://scottishborderscouncilpensionfund...

[2]http://scottishborderscouncilpensionfund...

 

Please accept our apologies for the delay in responding.

 

I should advise that you have a right to request a review within 40
working days from the date we respond to your request.  You should either
e-mail [3][Scottish Borders Council request email] or write to the Information Manager,
Scottish Borders Council, Council HQ, Newtown St. Boswells TD6 0SA.

 

If after the Council’s FOI Advice Group have considered your review and
you are still not happy with the decision you then have a right to appeal
to the Office of the Scottish Information Commissioner, you do this either
by visiting [4]http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/Appeal  or by post to: 
Kinburn Castle, Doubledykes Road, St. Andrews, fife KY16 9DS.

Yours sincerely

for the

Information Management Team

Scottish Borders Council

Newtown St Boswells

TD6 0SA

E mail:  [email address]

Tel: 0300 100 1800

 

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. http://scottishborderscouncilpensionfund...
2. http://scottishborderscouncilpensionfund...
3. mailto:[Scottish Borders Council request email]
4. http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/Appeal