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UniSuper boosts private markets team with two appointments

UniSuper has added to its private markets team as it focuses its efforts on its infrastructure and nascent venture capital capabilities.

Sukhi Lekhi (picture at top) has been appointed senior investment analyst, while Lachlan McLeish has been appointed investment analyst. Lekhi joins from Deloitte, where she was associate director in the mergers and acquisitions valuations practice, while McLeish joins from PwC, where he was a senior consultant in corporate valuation advisory.

“UniSuper is in the market for quality investment opportunities that deliver long term value for our members,” said Sandra Lee, UniSuper head of private markets. “Sukhi and Lachlan are both highly skilled investment professionals with deep experience in valuations, mergers and acquisitions. I have every confidence their expertise will enhance our capability and deliver real outcomes for our members.”

The UniSuper private markets team manage around $11 billion in infrastructure and private equity investments, including a recent investment in PRP Diagnostic Imaging and its partnership with early-stage commercialisation manager Uniseed, which it tipped $75 million into in early 2022 and which is jointly owned by the CSIRO and the Universities of Melbourne, Sydney, Queensland and NSW.

“It’s  given us a privileged access for co-investment opportunities,” CIO John Pearce told ISN at the time. “If something is going to be taken to stage three or four of funding, that’s typically where Uniseed will pull out because it’s gone to a certain level of development that’s going to require a much larger financing round. That’s where UniSuper can really come to the fore, and we’ll have an early bite of the cherry, so to speak.”

The Uniseed investment also represented UniSuper’s first foray into venture capital, an area most other funds steer clear of due to the small scale of investments into it and the fact that it’s often a poor fit for the Your Future Your Super benchmarks. Private equity itself has been something of a sore spot for UniSuper, which has been winding down its “scattergun” allocations of a few billion dollars to hundreds of funds for several years now.

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