The Wellcome Trust – the UK’s biggest charity – has formed a new UK student housing company with Goldman Sachs and Greystar, the US-based property management firm.

The joint venture, Vero Group, sees Wellcome’s existing student accommodation arm iQ merged with Prodigy Living, owned by Goldman Sachs and Greystar. 

The new company aims to provide high-quality, value-for-money accommodation to residents and university partners through its portfolio of 23,500 beds across 54 sites in the UK.

It plans to expand and modernise its portfolio, while delivering robust financial performance.

iQ and Prodigy Living will continue to operate under their respective brands, and the company will be based in London.

Wellcome’s investment portfolio was worth £18.3bn (€24bn) at end-September 2015, according to its year-end accounts.

Property and property-backed assets have now reached £2.6bn, a record 12.9% of the portfolio.

Half of this is in residential property, which returned 11.1% over the 12 months to end-September 2015.

Peter Pereira Gray, managing director of the investment division at Wellcome Trust, said: “The Wellcome Trust is a long-term investor in the UK student accommodation sector. We are delighted to partner with Goldman Sachs and Greystar to form Vero Group, which will build on the success of the iQ and Prodigy Living businesses.”

He added: “We now have the scale and resources required to meet the highest expectations of student and university customers alike through our ongoing investment in the existing portfolio, by attracting, retaining and motivating the highest-calibre employees, and by pursing further growth opportunities. We look forward to making Vero Group a leading operator in the sector.”