9 May 2023

Mike Anderson, CIO on aligning interests, structuring great JVs and giving Milligan the edge.

Milligan’s Chief Investment Officer, Mike Anderson gives us a run down on his role and responsibilities and how his relationships with finance partners give Milligan the edge as a developer.

Can you give us an overview of your role?

As CIO, I look after our investments and all major commercial, financial and legal arrangements. This includes governance, accounts, legal structures and cashflow. On our projects, I will lead on all major investment and financial transactions, from securing finance for acquisitions to complicated JV and Partnership structures.

An important part of the working week is the dialogue with all our current and potential investment partners, which cover the full investment landscape from Private Equity to Institutions and Local Authorities. It’s important that they are aware of our current thinking and approach and that we are clear and up to date with their requirements, particularly in such a volatile market as we have found ourselves in recently. This constant dialogue gives us the best chance of aligning with the right capital partners as opportunities arise.

Can you give some examples of how this works in practice?

In the past we’ve partnered with the likes of Blackstone, TIAA-Cref and Manchester Airports Authority and structured deals with each of them that has measured success against their individual target metrics and target returns.

More recently we’ve been working alongside The John Lewis Partnership’s real estate team, developing a vertically integrated Build to Rent business. We’re embedded as a strategic part of their client team, helping them become a developer, investor & operator looking to deliver 10,000 homes over the next 10 years. We were instrumental in bringing in abrdn as their first funding partner at the end of last year and are excited to see how that relationship can expand as the business grows. I’ve really enjoyed working on such a multi-faceted project and Milligan’s experience in operational real estate, from the Airports to Center Parcs to Camden Lock, has meant that we can add tangible value across all the facets.

We have also recently formed JVs with Urban Splash in Swansea and Birchall Properties for our development in the Peak District as well as a strategic partnership with Ferrovial to deliver a minimum viable network of Vertiports in the UK. These will all involve working to different measures of success, but the key is to ensure that in all cases we are creating strategic relationships where we align our interests as closely as possible.

What’s the next priority on the horizon?

We’re currently working on funding solutions for The Gateway at PEAK, which is our sustainable, experiential destination project on the edge of the Peak District National Park, and also for Swansea Central, our mixed-use development site in the centre of Swansea where we are in partnership with Urban Splash and Swansea City Council. In both cases we will be balancing the financial returns that all parties need with the requirement to deliver a socially impactful product in a sustainable way.