Property holdings in Pension Fund

Samuel Hall made this Freedom of Information request to City of Edinburgh Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was successful.

Dear City of Edinburgh Council,

I would like to request the following information:

1) The full details of what real estate assets the Lothian 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

City of Edinburgh Council

Mr Samuel Hall

Our ref: 22293

Dear Mr Hall

Acknowledgement of Request

Subject: Property holdings in Pension Fund

Thank you for your request for information received on 11/02/2019. I can confirm that your request will be processed under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, Environmental Information Regulations (Scotland) 2004, or the INSPIRE (Scotland) Regulations 2009.

You will receive the information requested within 20 working days unless the Council does not hold the information, or there is a reason for it to be withheld. We will write to you in any event. This means we have until 11/03/2019 to respond to your request.

In some circumstances a fee may be payable and if that is the case we will let you know.

If you have any requirements regarding the format any information should be supplied in, e.g. the language to be used, audio, large print and so on, then please let me know.

If you have any queries or concerns, do not hesitate to get in touch. Please quote the reference number above in any future communications.

To promote transparency and accountability, please note it is the Council’s policy to publish all request details and responses made under the freedom of information legislation. This information will be made available through the Council’s website and will not include your personal details. The disclosure log is available at the following link: http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/homepage/175....

Further information about your rights and accessing information is available on our website at: www.edinburgh.gov.uk

Yours sincerely,

Information Governance Unit
Level 2:1, Waverley Court, Edinburgh EH8 8BG Tel 0131 200 2340
[Edinburgh City Council request email] www.edinburgh.gov.uk

Information Rights Officer 4, City of Edinburgh Council

1 Attachment

Mr Samuel Hall

 

[1][FOI #551761 email]

 

Our ref: 22293

 

 

Dear Mr Hall

 

Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 - Partial Release of
Information

 

Subject: Property Holdings in Pension Fund

 

Thank you for your request for information of 11/02/2019, which has been
processed under the terms of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act
2002. Unfortunately, the Council is only able to meet part of your
request; this information is released to you now. I shall address each of
your questions in turn.

 

You asked for the following:

 

Q1. The full details of what real estate assets the Lothian 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.

 

A1. Listed Real Estate securities – Please refer to our website at:

 

[2]http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/lpf1/downloa...

Under the terms of the Act, a request for information can be refused where
one or more of the exemptions listed in the Act apply. In this instance,
the Council is claiming an exemption under section 25 of the Act because
the information is ‘otherwise accessible’.

 

If you do have difficulty in accessing the information or if you have any
queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number
above.

 

For ‘Unlisted/Private Real Estate Property Funds/vehicles, companies or
CIS’, ‘Directly held properties’ and ‘(listed/unlisted) Real Estate Debt
Funds/vehicles’ please refer to Columns A and E of the attached document.

 

In the case of any unlisted real estate vehicles or real estate debt
vehicles, the domicile of the underlying assets should be included, please
refer to Column B of the attached document.

 

For a full list of all the companies, vehicles, CIS, etc. please refer to
Column D of the attached document.

 

Q2. The current yields of the different investments the pension fund
holds.

 

A2. Please refer to Column G of the attached document.

 

Q3. Can you clearly specify the total value of all real estate investments
that the Pension Fund holds.

 

A3. The total value of all real estate investments that the Fund holds is
c£550m as of 30/09/2018.

 

Q4. Please supply a copy of the Pension Scheme’s latest Statement of
Investment Principles and most recent Pension Fund Report & Accounts.

 

A4. Please refer to our website at:

 

[3]http://www.lpf.org.uk/downloads/download...
 and

 

[4]http://www.lpf.org.uk/downloads/file/887...

 

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.

 

We have provided the information in PDF format. We will consider a request
to provide this information in Excel format as part of any request to
re-use the information. Please submit any such request to me in the first
instance for onward forwarding to the Lothian Pension Fund for
consideration.

 

To promote transparency and accountability, please note it is the
Council’s policy to publish all request details and responses made under
the freedom of information legislation. This information will be made
available through the Council’s website and will not include your personal
details. The disclosure log is available at the following link:
http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/homepage/175...

 

Your right to seek a review

 

I appreciate that our decision may disappoint you and I am sorry that we
have not been able to release all the information you requested on this
occasion. If you are unhappy with the way we have dealt with your request,
you can ask us to review our actions and decisions by writing to:

 

Head of Strategy & Insight

The City of Edinburgh Council

Waverley Court Business Centre 2:1

4, East Market Street

Edinburgh

EH8 8BG or,

Email: [email address]

 

Please note that your request must be in a recordable format (email,
letter, audio tape etc.), and that you have 40 working days upon receipt
of this letter to ask for a review. You will receive a full response to
your review request within 20 working days of its receipt. Please quote
the reference number above in any future communications.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of the review, you can ask the
Scottish Information Commissioner to review our decision. You must submit
your complaint to the Commissioner within 6 months of receiving our review
response. The Commissioner can be contacted at:

 

The Office of the Scottish Information Commissioner

Kinburn Castle

Doubledykes Road

St Andrews

Fife

KY16 9DS

Telephone: 01334 464610

Fax: 01334 464611

Website: www.itspublicknowledge.info/Appeal

Email: [email address]

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Iain Burden

Information Rights Officer

 

 

Information Governance Unit

Level 2:1, Waverley Court, Edinburgh EH8 8BG Tel 0131 200 2340

[Edinburgh City Council request email]  www.edinburgh.gov.uk

 

 

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References

Visible links
1. mailto:[FOI #551761 email]
2. http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/lpf1/downloa...
3. http://www.lpf.org.uk/downloads/download...
4. http://www.lpf.org.uk/downloads/file/887...