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AustralianSuper to boost UK and European investment

With real estate and infrastructure opportunities key attractions


Pete Carvill

The largest pension scheme Down Under has said that it plans to invest up to £23bn in the UK and Europe over the next five years.

According to an interview in the Financial Times, the scheme’s head of international investments, Damian Moloney, said that the fund is looking to double its UK assets to £15bn from £7bn by 2026. Concurrently, it will boost its European investment from £12.6bn to £28bn.

Moloney told the Financial Times: “There are strong opportunities across real estate, infrastructure, and direct private credit in Europe and the UK.”

He added: “We are looking at a variety of opportunities for high-quality sustainable mixed-use real estate investments that are or can be carbon neutral. [There are also] numerous infrastructure opportunities in the UK and Europe, driven by a need for asset renewal and new builds, such as digital infrastructure.”

According to the Financial Times story, the planned purchases do not represent a direct change in the fund’s strategy, but reflect the projected growth in its assets which are expected to hit A$570bn in the next four years.

It is old news for Commonwealth countries to have their pension funds invest in the UK. Back in October, the Canada’s Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec (CDPQ) said it plans to invest $12bn in European and UK assets over the next four years.

Pay fines

While AustralianSuper does sound like a storebrand lager based out of Perth, it holds the pensions pots of around one in 10 Australians.

Largely unknown within Europe, the firm is not without its curves. According to The Australian Financial Review, the fund last month managed to get the green light to pay fines levied against its directors with members’ money.

As the AFR reported: “Some of Australia’s largest industry super funds including AustralianSuper and Cbus fronted up to court in recent months warning their trustee boards could become insolvent as soon as January if they received a fine since they generally had less than $100 in capital.”