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AustralianSuper goes global with external mandates


AustralianSuper will have $80 billion managed by external managers over the next few years as it eyes larger allocations to key emerging markets like India and China.

AustralianSuper currently has $50 billion managed by external managers, a figure that will swell to some $80 billion over the next few years as the fund races towards its goal of $500 billion FUM by 2026.

“AustralianSuper will need to continue to look overseas for investment opportunities as our member assets grow over time, and that is something we are very keen to do,” said Joseph Wahba, AustralianSuper head of external managers.

“As global economies recover there will be investment opportunities that will emerge. AustralianSuper needs to make sure we are well placed to identify the right opportunities that will deliver sustainable long-term returns for our members.”

Most of its new allocations will be to the “traditional areas of global equities and emerging markets”, with the fund expecting to appoint its first managers covering India and Japan and a further build out its China A share portfolio. It will also hand out a range of “sector specific, specialist or bespoke mandates.”

“India is an increasingly important part of the global economy making it an attractive location for AustralianSuper to invest as we move to being a much bigger global investor,” Wahba said. “We are focussed on being the best investor for members we can, building strong internal capabilities, having good relationships across the investment community and an expanded global presence to source attractive deals. Similarly with Japan which has been on our radar for a while.”

AustralianSuper is no stranger to emerging markets, investing in the Indian National Infrastructure Fund in 2019, and opening an office in Beijing in 2012. The fund’s exposure to China has grown three-fold from $1.4 billion to $4.6 billion over the past five years, and the fund opened a China Interbank Bond Mark account to invest in China’s government and policy bank bonds in 2019.

Wahba said AustralianSuper looks forward “developing enhanced relationships across all financial markets and asset classes in the years ahead.”

“AustralianSuper has become a global investor in the truest sense since its inception. We have shifted from a largely outsourced model to one where people in the fund are making the major decisions about a global portfolio on a day to day basis,” Wahba said.

“The hybrid approach of inhouse investment capabilities supported by top quality external managers means the Fund is now a lot more agile and nimble in our ability to source and close deals and we have a much greater capacity to invest across the capital structure.”

Supporting the expansion are a range of new appointments, including Mathew Moore as associate portfolio manager, Rachel Mohr and Denise Yeong as senior analysts, and Yee Khoon Tee as an analyst.

“AustralianSuper is assembling a very strong team to identify key areas for the allocation of member assets and to continue sourcing the best external managers,” Wahba said. “Everything we do is about members and their retirement. Our new hires will be integral in deploying our proprietary manager evaluation process in a consistent manner so that members can enjoy their best financial position in retirement.”

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