1 March 2023 – Place-Based Impacting Investing Forum online asset owner event with Legal & General

The future of levelling up; what is the role of pension funds and investment in empowering places?

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Pensions for Purpose was delighted to invite Place-Based Impact Investing (PBII) Forum members to its online asset owner event at that took place on 11 March 2023.

We were pleased to host Pete Gladwell of Legal & General and Vidhya Alakeson, Director of External Relations for Sir Keir Starmer and former CEO of Power to Change.

They explored the important role pension funds can play in empowering communities and places to improve their local economies, housing, workplaces, leisure and green spaces, local infrastructure, and social infrastructure to meet social and environmental challenges.

Who was this event for?

This event was opened to asset owners such as pension fund trustees, in-house executives and independent advisers, professional trustees, government representatives, and consultants.

Speakers' biographies 

Pete Gladwell MA (Oxon) FRSA – Group Social Impact and Investment Director, Legal & General

Pete GladwellAfter an erstwhile life as a youth worker, Pete joined Legal & General in 2007, launching a new generation of property funds focused on liability matching and defined contributions pension schemes, and Legal & General's partnerships with NEST and PGGM, which total over £5bn. In 2015, Pete moved to lead Legal & General's investments with the public sector – including the Cabinet Office, Combined & Local Authorities, NHS, Housing Associations and Universities – which now total over £6bn.

Pete continues to lead on public sector investments, as part of a broader remit to identify and drive strategic investments and initiatives through which L&G can use its resources to benefit society. This includes Legal & General's partnership with Sir Michael Marmot to address health inequality.

Pete holds an MA from Brasenose College, Oxford in Computation, the IMC, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts and Honorary Professor at University College London.

Pete is heavily involved in local community projects in Harlesden, west London and a Trustee of the Fairness Foundation, the Institute of Community Studies, and the Young Foundation, which works to create a more equal and just society through social innovation.

Vidhya Alakeson, Director of External Relations for Sir Keir Starmer

Vidhya Alakeson
Vidhya is Director of External Relations for Sir Keir Starmer, Leader of the Opposition. She was previously instrumental in starting up Power to Change – an independent trust, established in 2015 to support and grow community-led businesses across England. She led the trust from 2015 to 2022. During this period, she was also a Board member of several organisations, including the Government's High Streets Taskforce and the Office for Place.

Prior to this, Vidhya was the Deputy Chief Executive at the Resolution Foundation, an independent think tank focusing on living standards, and was also the Mental Health Lead for the personal health budgets delivery programme at NHS England.

Vidhya worked at the US Department of Health and Human Services in Washington DC from 2006 to 2010 and before that at the UK Treasury and the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit. Vidhya was awarded an OBE for Services to Social Equality in 2021.


Martin Pattinson, Lead of The Place-Based Impact Investing Forum, Pensions for Purpose

Martin PattinsonMartin has had a career of over 40 years spent in property, banking, asset management and consulting to small and medium-sized enterprises, working with organisations across the UK, Europe, Middle East, North America and Japan.For most of his career, Martin has focused on growing businesses , but latterly moved into management, leadership and strategy setting roles.

At Pensions for Purpose, Martin is responsible for the PBII Forum, bringing stakeholders together to inform, share knowledge, influence and advise, to bring about environmental and societal impact through PBII.

The Place-Based Impact Investing Forum

The Place-Based Impact Investing Forum was established by Pensions for Purpose and The Good Economy and is run in partnership with the Impact Investing Institute to help pension funds and other asset owners make informed decisions about place-based investments. We do this by sharing place-based-related thought leadership written by our members (asset managers, consultants and lawyers), by running training workshops for trustees and by engaging in industry-wide conversation through our quarterly all-stakeholder and asset-owner events. To join the Place-Based Impact Investing Forum please email the Forum Lead.

Pensions for Purpose

Pensions for Purpose exists as a bridge between asset managers, pension funds and their professional advisers, to encourage the flow of capital towards impact investment. Our aim is to empower pension funds to seek positive impact opportunities and mitigate negative impact risks. For membership information, please email our Membership Manager.