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Aware Super announces £5.25 billion commitment to UK investment office

27 November 2023
 

As it launches its first overseas office, Aware Super is making a major international investment commitment to help the fund continue delivering strong long-term returns for members.

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Aware Super's Deputy Chief Investment Officer and Head of International, Damien Webb, at the launch of the fund's London office.

One of Australia’s top-performing pension funds, Aware Super, has announced at today’s Global Investment Summit it will direct a $A10 billion (£5.25 billion) investment commitment in the UK and Europe through its newly established London office.

With $A160 billion (£83.2 billion) of assets under management, Aware Super has ambitions to grow to $A250 billion (£130 billion), with international expansion into the UK a key strategy aimed at achieving that goal. Currently, the fund has $A17 billion (£8.84 billion) invested in the UK and Europe.

The fund officially opened its first international office in London this week.

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.

In April, Aware Super – already a pioneer in the key-worker affordable housing and the private rented sector in Australia with a $A1.5 billion commitment to fuel a 2000-apartment pipeline – entered the UK residential property market with a 22 per cent stake in Get Living, the country’s leading 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 Chief Executive Officer 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 United Kingdom 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 billion 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."

"Our Global Investment Summit will be further proof of how the UK is fast becoming the most exciting and innovative place in the world to invest."

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 Australia, with an initial team of 15 investment professionals, growing to 30 over time.

Mr 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 long-term returns and competitive fees for our members back in Australia.”

 

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