Corn Exchange’s future in the hands of a high risk pension fund
The Corn exchange is owned by Leeds City Council but is leased to Zurich Assurance. Effectively Leeds Corn Exchange now forms part of a property portfolio of one of Zurich’s pension funds. The fund is managed by Threadneedle Asset Management and according to Zurich’s own documents this fund “invests in assets which tend to produce the highest level of return but with higher risk”.
This fund has indeed shown a sharp fall in the last year. The sustainability of the building therefore depends on property market fluctuations. This profit-oriented view was confirmed by Zurich in an email communication:
As around £1.5 million pounds has been spent on the repair we must make sure
that the future of the building is sustainable. […] we own the building on
behalf of our policyholders - people who have invested with us and to whom we
are accountable to for their long term savings. As such, we need to ensure we
act responsibly in securing their futures, as well as the future of the building
itself” (email communication)
In sum, this listed building and historical heritage of Leeds now forms part of Zurich’s pension’s property investment portfolio whose aim is to make profit.