Australia's Aware Super commits €6b to European real assets and PE

Australian pension fund Aware Super has unveiled plans to direct a A$10 bn (€6 bn) investment commitment across Europe through its newly established London office.

It aims to initially focus its further direct investments from its new UK headquarters in real estate, infrastructure and private equity, with an emphasis on the energy transition sector, affordable housing, innovation, life sciences, technology and the digital infrastructure sector.

The fund currently has A$17 bn invested in the UK and Europe, out of a total of A$160 bn of assets under management. Aware Super has ambitions to grow to A$250 bn of assets under management, in part through international expansion.

In April, Aware Super entered the UK residential property market with the acquisition of a 22% stake in Get Living, a developer and operator of large-scale, build-to-rent neighbourhoods.

It also holds an extensive infrastructure and private equity portfolio in the UK, including investments such as Forth Ports and Miller Insurance Services.

Aware Super CEO Deanne Stewart said: 'We are thrilled to announce our commitment to the UK, one of the world’s most important and vibrant capital markets, with the opening of our first international office.

'Aware Super's growth trajectory into the UK market will position us as an active, leading 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.

'The benefits arising from the Australia-UK free trade agreement, 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.'

Business and trade secretary Kemi Badenoch said: 'This £5 bn from Aware Super is a huge boost for UK infrastructure, property and our thriving science and tech sectors.

'Investors like Aware Super are taking advantage of trade deals like the recent Australia Free Trade Agreement and our work breaking down trade barriers to bring new capital into the country.'

Aware Super deputy chief investment officer and head of international Damien Webb has relocated to London to spearhead Aware Super’s first international foothold outside of Australia, with an initial team of 15 investment professionals, growing to 30 over time.

Webb said: '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. The ability to access the UK’s deep investment talent pool will also further furnish our investment team’s capabilities.

'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.'



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