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How Jas is leaving a lasting legacy working in Real Assets

Posting date: 03 Apr 2024
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If you're familiar with Legal & General Investment Management, you know that our mission is to create a better future through responsible investing. LGIM is our global asset management business, dedicated to delivering impact through industry-leading expertise.

LGIM's three key strategic pillars of Modernise, Internationalise and Diversify are firmly embedded in our strategic thinking. Speaking with Jas Chahal, Head of Strategic Change in the Real Assets team, Jas shared her insights into the initiatives they are spearheading that set us apart from our peers, and how they’re championing diversity and inclusion at LGIM.

Tell us a bit about you and your career journey

I was born and brought up in Singapore, where my career in investment management began as a Property Analyst. I also spent some time in Australia, before moving to the UK in the late 90s to follow a job opportunity at LaSalle Investment Management. Since then, I’ve navigated through various roles at Schroders and Tesco Pension Investment Limited, working my way up to Portfolio Manager responsible for c.£2bn of private market assets.

I joined LGIM in 2018 and now as Head of Strategic Change in Real Assets, I am responsible for driving the business strategy and transformation of the platform. I am pleased to say that we now have a clear growth plan for Real Assets, which sits within one of the Strategic Growth Initiatives (SGI) for LGIM to create a global private markets platform for L&G, incorporating the growth ambitions across LGIM, LGC and LGRI.

What are you working on at the moment? 

Our main focus will be on the delivery and execution of our SGI to achieve our ambitious growth plans to ensure we are best placed to meet the client demand for private markets assets. This includes diversifying our client base and expanding our capabilities internationally. In 2023, we launched our Real Estate equity business in the US, marking a significant milestone. Additionally, we’re actively growing our portfolios in both the US and Europe. We recently launched our infrastructure equity capabilities through the Clean Power (Europe) Fund.

Our Private Credit platform is gaining substantial momentum, promising exciting developments for third-party clients. This year, our strategy around Transition Private Credit will comprise a diversified portfolio of assets that will move us much closer to the transition to a low-carbon and digitally-connected society.

How is our Real Assets business helping to advance LGIM’s strategic goals? 

One thing we always ask ourselves: what structural issues in society are we trying to solve?

In the UK, our focus lies in tackling the chronic housing shortage by increasing the supply of homes. We've made significant strides in this area, particularly through our pioneering Build to Rent (BTR) strategy. In 2023 we “broke ground” with a new scheme in Belfast which is set to deliver 627 homes in the historic Titanic quarter – marking Northern Ireland’s largest residential investment to date.

Since our first investment into the UK’s BTR sector in 2016, we’ve been on a rapid growth trajectory. With 24 schemes and over £3 billion deployed, we're poised for further expansion. Looking forward, we’re eager to explore new geographies, “living” sectors, and continue to deploy capital at pace.

What do diversity and inclusion mean to you at LGIM? 

When I think about D&I, I believe it is about diversity of thought, not just representation. Based on my own background, I hope I add a unique perspective to our team and the decisions we make as a leader.

How can we celebrate and amplify diverse voices across the sector?

Wherever I’ve worked I’ve pushed for diversity of thought to become part of the corporate fabric. Over the last year, Real Assets has become more involved in the LEGIT network – the Legal & General Inclusion Team. This has enabled us to speak with a louder voice and effect change on a larger scale. One proud example is our collaborative effort with LEGIT to enhance our parental leave policies through a benchmarking study within Real Assets, leading to advocacy for company-wide improvements at L&G.

We also continue to put socio-economic mobility, gender balance and ethnicity high on the agenda within our platform. Our sub-committees actively contribute to the broader Real Assets D&I Committee, which I have the privilege of chairing. Throughout the year, we host various activities and initiatives to promote what we do to a wider audience and hopefully attract more young people from different backgrounds to a career in private markets.

While there’s still a lot more work to be done in the real estate and private markets industry, my career journey stands as evidence that progress is being made. I only need to look around at how diverse our teams are, with people who have established successful careers at LGIM, to see that diversity is genuinely moving forward and becoming the norm for our business.

Finally, what’s your top tip for maintaining your wellbeing?

If there was one thing that the lockdown taught me, it was the importance of staying active. I love to swim, especially in the outdoors – although not in open water. I’ve got a local lido and it really helps me unwind at the end of the week. I highly recommend it! On the weekends, I try to switch off by going to the gym for a spin class and watching Match of the Day – I think I am more passionate about football than all the boys in my family!

Create a better future with LGIM

Our Real Assets team is committed to responsible investing. Leveraging our global reach, large-scale capital and operating expertise, we are confident in our ability to enhance the value of our underlying assets and deliver sustainable returns for our clients.

Operating on an international scale ensures accessibility and responsiveness to our clients' needs. It also allows us to draw strength from our diversity of talent, meaning we can tackle challenges with creativity and resilience.

Join the LGIM team and together, we can achieve positive long-term outcomes.

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