The Housing Finance Corporation (THFC), the UK’s leading affordable housing aggregator, has announced the appointment of Priya Nair as its new Chief Executive.
Priya will take over from Piers Williamson, who will step down at THFC’s Annual General Meeting in July, after 22 years at the helm of THFC. Priya will start her new role on 11th March 2024, with Piers remaining with the business for a short transition period.
Priya brings with her more than 25 years of experience in the financial services sector, including advising infrastructure companies and international investors. Most recently, she was Senior Director of Infrastructure at abrdn Investment Management. Previously at Royal Bank of Canada, she was the senior Managing Director responsible for coverage of the infrastructure and housing sectors, including THFC. She has extensive leadership experience across capital markets, corporate finance, digital transformation and securities services. Priya has a proven track record of leading multi-disciplinary teams and implementing strategic growth initiatives. She currently serves as a Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Investment Committee at the Port of London Authority and as a Senior Trustee of the charity, Sported.
Piers steps down from the role having delivered two decades of continuous growth at THFC. During his tenure, THFC has grown its loan book from £1.4bn to more than £8bn and expanded its lending remit to all four parts of the UK. Piers inherited a historic high interest cost loan portfolio and, along with his team, progressively transformed it to one of the most cost-effective long-term loan portfolios in the sector.
THFC has been the UK’s leading affordable housing aggregator for more than three decades, providing innovative funding solutions for over 160 housing associations across all four nations of the UK. THFC has amassed a loan book of over £8.2bn to date and continues to expand its range of financial products to serve the needs of the social housing sector. THFC has made significant contributions toward solving the UK’s affordable housing crisis, having funded 32,000+ homes under Affordable Housing Finance plc, which oversaw the government’s initial Affordable Housing Guarantee Scheme. The aggregator launched bLEND, a direct subsidiary, in 2018 and unveiled THFC Sustainable Finance (TSF), a £2bn sustainable finance vehicle, in 2023.
George Blunden, Chair of THFC, said: “After more than two decades of serving the affordable housing sector with his vast knowledge and experience, Piers can step down in the knowledge that he has had a truly positive impact on the sector. Working with Piers has been a pleasure and his commitment to the sector will be sorely missed. We thank him for his many years of outstanding leadership.
After an extensive recruitment process, we are delighted that Priya is joining us as Piers’ successor. It goes without saying that she has big boots to fill, but we have every confidence in her ability to successfully lead the organisation into the coming years.”
Piers Williamson, outgoing Chief Executive of THFC, said: “It has been a privilege to play a part in growing the long-term investment market for housing associations over such an extensive period. Despite all sorts of adversity, housing associations have proved their resilience and represent a prime example of what a public private partnership can achieve. Even after 22 eventful years, never a day goes by when I do not learn more about these fascinating organisations and how they change peoples’ lives for the better. I hope I will be able to stay engaged in some capacity over the years to come.”
Priya Nair, incoming Chief Executive of THFC, said: “I am deeply honoured to be joining THFC as its new Chief Executive. THFC has a rich history of providing optimal funding solutions to a diverse set of housing associations across the UK, thereby enabling the affordable housing sector to fulfill its social aims. I have known and admired the work of THFC for several years and am greatly impressed by everything they have achieved under Piers’ leadership. I believe deeply in the transformative role that THFC plays as an engine of social mobility and economic prosperity. I look forward to working with THFC’s talented team and I am confident that, together, we can achieve great things and position the organisation for continued long-term success.”
Notes to editors:
About THFC: The Housing Finance Corporation (THFC) is the UK’s leading affordable housing aggregator, with over £8bn of lending to around 160 housing associations in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. THFC was set up in 1987 in partnership with the National Housing Federation and what was the Housing Corporation. It now also operates through its subsidiary company, bLEND, which was established in 2018. The group’s surpluses are retained and reinvested to ensure THFC can continue to provide competitively priced funding for HAs long into the future. THFC’s track record of innovation includes some of the earliest green finance products for retrofit and sustainable developments.
Priya Nair is an experienced senior leader and board adviser in financial services, specialising in international infrastructure investment.
Her 26-year career spans three global financial services institutions, where she has developed extensive knowledge of capital markets, corporate finance and securities services. She is currently Senior Director of Infrastructure at abrdn Investment Management where she is responsible for financing, capital raising, investor relations and strategy in relation to all its funds and co-investments.
Priya acts as a senior advisor to several organisations working across government, infrastructure, technology and funds where she provides counsel on corporate finance, governance, risk management and investment strategies.
She is Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Investment Committee at the Port of London Authority and a Senior Trustee of community sports charity, Sported.
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