Pension Fund AustralianSuper Says Avoiding Energy Infrastructure For Now

Pension Fund AustralianSuper Says Avoiding Energy Infrastructure For Now

Australia’s largest pension fund, AustralianSuper, is interested in investing more in infrastructure projects at home but will avoid the energy sector given uncertainty over government policies.

Chief Executive Ian Silk, whose fund manages A$120 billion ($95 billion), said government policy on energy right now was a “dog’s breakfast” which was deterring investment.

In 2016, AustralianSuper invested A$2.5 billion as part of a consortium bid to buy electricity network Ausgrid for a total of A$16 billion.

It was the fund’s largest single direct investment, and the fund has previously expressed interest in further infrastructure purchases.

Silk, speaking at a Reuters Newsmaker event in Sydney, said infrastructure assets in general in Australia were highly priced and the fund needs to be discriminating about what to invest in.

On asset allocation, Silk said the fund had about 8 to 9 percent in cash and was attracting net cash inflows of around A$500 million a month.

Silk said the fund had been underweight in bonds, at only around 3 percent of assets, but this choice had benefited members so far.

Around a quarter of AustralianSuper’s balanced fund is invested in the local share market and a third in international equities, according to the fund’s website.

About 20 percent of the fund is held in real estate and infrastructure, with the balance in fixed income and credit, cash, private equity and alternative products.

It returned 12.44 percent, after taxes and fees, to investors for the year ended June 30 – much higher than the 4.54 percent in the previous year but in line with recent average returns.

Australia’s A$2.1 trillion pool of tax-advantaged retirement savings, known locally as “superannuation” or “super” funds is larger than the country’s gross domestic product and among the world’s largest pension-fund pools after the United States, UK, Japan and Canada.

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