Aware Super is planning to open an offshore investment office, most likely in Europe, as it homes in on private assets.
Aware Super is planning to open an investment office offshore over the next five years as the fund expects to double in size over that period.
Damian Graham, Chief Investment Officer of Aware Super, told [i3] Insights that the fund still had to pin down exactly where it would open the new office, but that there was a preference for Europe rather than the United States or China.
“It is more likely to be in Europe than the US,” Graham says. “It is really driven by opportunities and where we think we will build out the portfolio.
“I guess we do feel that we will follow our current portfolio and relationships. If you think about what we are trying to target, it will be private market focused,” he says.
Aware Super manages about $125 billion in assets as of 15 December 2020 and the fund expects this to grow to $250 billion by 2025.
In line with this growth, Graham expects the investment team to double in size too.
We expect to get to somewhere between 150 to 200 [people]. [Growth] will be pretty broad, I expect that most sectors will grow, whether it is property or infrastructure, equities or private equity. We expect to achieve growth in all those areas
“We expect to get to somewhere between 150 to 200 [people],” he says. “[Growth] will be pretty broad, I expect that most sectors will grow, whether it is property or infrastructure, equities or private equity. We expect to achieve growth in all those areas.”
The fund has been gradually adding in-house investment capabilities and Graham says this will become an increasingly larger share of the portfolio.
“We have some estimates. We expect to end up somewhere between 40 – 50 per cent [of the portfolio],” he says.
Yesterday, Aware Super announced the creation of a Deputy Chief Investment Officer role, which has been taken up by Damien Webb, who was responsible for the fund’s real asset portfolio.
Graham indicates that this role will be instrumental in implementing the new strategy over the next five years.
“It was just to broaden out the leadership and take responsibility across a number of key focus areas, in particular around direct asset oversight and enhancement,” Graham says about the creation of the new role.
“We are building our function around asset management and the deputy CIO will take responsibility for that and be a driver of the offshore strategy as well,” he says.
[i3] Insights is the official educational bulletin of the Investment Innovation Institute [i3]. It covers major trends and innovations in institutional investing, providing independent and thought-provoking content about pension funds, insurance companies and sovereign wealth funds across the globe.