Australia’s Aware Super pension allocates A$10bn to transition assets in UK and Europe
Australia's Aware Super pension fund told Net Zero Investor today that it will allocate A$10 billion, roughly £5.3 billion, to expand its energy transition footprint in the UK and Europe.
The pension giant, which has roughly A$160 billion in assets under management aims to "initially focus its direct investments from its new UK headquarters in real estate, infrastructure and private equity, with an emphasis on the energy transition sector."
The multi-billion allocation follows the opening of Aware Super's new office in London, its first outside Australia.
Damien Webb, Aware Super's deputy chief investment officer and head of international, recently relocated to the British capital.
“Due to our rapid growth trajectory, we believe the UK is a key platform from which we can further fuel our scale ambitions and diversify our portfolio through access to dynamic investment opportunities in new private markets," Webb said.
"The ability to access the UK’s deep investment talent pool will also further furnish our investment team’s capabilities," he noted.
The hub has around 15 investment professionals and will steer the pension's investment strategy in the UK and rest of Europe. The plan is to grow the London office to 30 staff "over time."
“Our international expansion strategy is positioning us to operate across the largest and most attractive capital markets, to find the strongest investment opportunities and deliver strong longer-term returns and competitive fees for our members back in Australia," he said.
"Aware Super has ambitions to grow to A$250 billion of assets under management, with international expansion into the UK a key strategy aimed at achieving that goal" the fund said.
Currently, the fund has roughly A$17 billion invested in the UK and Europe.
Focus on UK
In April of this year, Aware Super entered the UK residential property market with a 22% stake in Get Living, a developer and operator of large-scale, build-to-rent neighbourhoods.
The firm also holds an infrastructure and private equity portfolio in the UK. Investments include Forth Ports and Miller Insurance Services.
Aware Super chief executive officer Deanne Stewart said: “Aware Super's growth trajectory into the UK market will position us as an active, global institutional investor, well positioned to deliver strong risk-adjusted returns and lower fees for our Australian members while also providing exciting opportunities for our employees and communities across the UK".
Stewart praised the recently signed Australia-United Kingdom free trade agreement.
"The UK’s ease of doing business, closely aligned culture, proximity to Europe and Northern America and warm support from the Department of Trade and Business and the City of London were also compelling factors in our decision to invest here," the Australian investment veteran concluded.