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Cardano and Big Society Capital launch joint RfP

Cardano, the pensions advisory and investment management specialist, and Big Society Capital, the UK’s leading social impact investor, have today announced that they are joining forces with the intention to direct up to £195 million of new investment towards real estate fund strategies addressing the UK housing crisis. This will be a combination of Big Society Capital’s own investment and client capital from Cardano.



We are calling on real estate fund managers to participate in a joint Request for Proposals (RfP) focused on fund strategies that increase the supply of good quality, affordable housing in the UK – alongside generating a market rate financial return. We aim to expand the market through Big Society Capital’s own investments combined with Cardano’s client investments, as well as facilitating additional institutional investment alongside them.

Big Society Capital and Cardano (on behalf of its clients) are targeting investments up to £45 million and £150 million respectively. Both firms will assess proposals on a fully independent basis.

With providers currently unable to meet the demand for 145,000 new homes each year and with over 1 million people on social housing waiting lists, the UK has a housing crisis that is unlikely to be solved through public investment alone[1]. Big Social Capital and Cardano firmly believe that private investment is critical to increase the supply of affordable homes to support the most vulnerable people and families across the country.

Investors are increasingly turning to the social and affordable housing sector – already valued at £3 billion[2] and expected to more than double by 2025 – in line with the growing trend for investors to demand stable returns, alongside positive social and / or environmental impact. The sector often displays interesting investment characteristics that can suit long-term pension savers: steady long-term rental income and capital growth, often with less correlation to the more traditional real estate markets.

The RfP will be open to proposals that offer meaningful solutions to help address UK social and affordable housing challenges for the benefit of vulnerable or lower income people, alongside generating attractive, risk adjusted returns. A three-stage process will be launched on 16 February, the details of which will be available on both Cardano’s and Big Society Capital’s websites. The deadline for submissions is close of business on Friday 11 March 2022.

Gemma Bourne, Investment Director, Big Capital Society commented: “We predict that the social and affordable housing market will reach £8bn by 2025 as more fund managers and investors become aware of their potential to generate genuine and positive impact on the UK’s housing crisis. We’re thrilled to be working in partnership with Cardano as we collectively seek to support impact funds that work fairly for all stakeholders whilst also delivering investor returns.”

Geordie Cox, Investment Manager, Private Markets, Cardano, commented: “This is a sector where investments can improve lives but also offer attractive investment characteristics for our (principally pension) clients: resilient, inflation linked cash-flows; often with government backing and often diversifying in a portfolio. At Cardano, we’re passionate about bringing purpose to pensions, alongside a stable return. Investments in this space have the added benefit of directly linking pension savers with the communities in which they live. We are therefore delighted to be partnering with Big Society Capital and look forward to receiving proposals.”

RFP overview

Click here for submission information and guidance.


Click here for the Due Diligence Questionnaire.

Rewatch the briefing webinar

We held a briefing webinar. Click here to watch and find out more information on the process.