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Dolphin Living

Finance for affordable housing in London

Dolphin Living is a London-based housing charity that provides affordable homes for working Londoners on modest incomes. In June 2017, Dolphin Living issued a RCB, raising £25 million.

Olivia Harris, chief executive of Dolphin Living, says: “To meet our target of delivering 1,000 homes by 2020, we looked at a range of finance options that would support our growth and development plans. As a small housing charity, we knew that we were unable to issue a bond ourselves due to factors such as costs and internal resources. A RCB was ideal because it enabled us to enter the mainstream financial market and benefit from Allia’s expertise and track record throughout the process.”

Allia designed RCBs to make it easier and more affordable for charitable organisations to raise simple finance through bonds listed on London Stock Exchange. In connecting with a range of individual and institutional investors, a RCB allows borrowers to access medium-term loan finance with light covenants and fixed costs.

Olivia explains: “Traditional mortgage finance carries with it a number of restrictions and we felt that a RCB offered more flexibility. Having a simple set of covenants and not giving legal charges over our assets means that we can manage our property and investments more effectively, without the restrictions and legal processes involved in other options.”

Fastest selling RCB

The RCB for Dolphin Living was launched in June 2017. The offer was closed early and oversubscribed after just over 24 hours following orders from a range of funds and individual investors.

The bond is the fifth to be issued through Allia’s RCB platform. Following a £33m issue in March 2017 for Greensleeves Care, this latest bond for Dolphin Living has been the fastest selling yet.

“We were delighted at the success of the RCB” said Olivia. “The response, from what was a diverse mix of investors, reflects the increasing interest in intermediate rental housing. It is an acknowledgement of both the strong business case for our product and our track record over the past 7 years, as well as the positive social impact that affordable housing provides.”

KEY FACTS: DOLPHIN LIVING 

  • Dolphin Living is the trading name of The Dolphin Square Charitable Foundation and its subsidiaries. The Foundation was established in 2005 as an independent charity with an endowment of more than £120 million
  • Owns 600 homes across in and around the central London area of Westminster
  • A further 200 homes are under construction and being developed
  • Tenants are people who ‘make London work’ such as social workers, restaurateurs and nurses, who need to live or work in central London and need homes at an affordable price
  • The majority of the homes are let at intermediate rents which are on average 53% of local market rent, providing housing at a costs that working Londoners can afford from their earned income

(Details correct as at March 2018)

KEY FACTS: THE BOND 

  • £45 million of bonds created
  • £25 million raised for Dolphin Living
  • Option to sell further £20 million of retained bonds in the future
  • 4.25% per annum interest
  • Term of 9 years
  • Offer closed after 24 hours
  • Funds will be used to invest in the growth of Dolphin Living’s London portfolio, including the existing pipeline of 196 homes under development