A $169 Billion Pension Fund Plans London, New York Hiring Spree

Australia’s biggest pension fund is doubling down on plans to build out offices in London and New York as it seeks more deals overseas on its path to managing about A$500 billion ($376 billion) within five years.

Mark Delaney, chief investment officer of AustralianSuper Pty, said the A$225 billion fund will have 60 employees in New York by 2026, focusing on property, infrastructure and private equity investments. Its London office, currently home to about 40 staff, will grow to around 100 over that same period, he said in an interview Monday.

With the fund on track to more than double in size over the next five years, AustralianSuper is shifting money offshore and ultimately expects to have two-thirds of its portfolio invested outside Australia. The fund’s original plan -- 50 people in London and 30 in New York by next year -- was delayed as economies were whipsawed and major cities effectively shut to try and halt the spread of Covid-19.

In hindsight, the pause on its New York expansion has “not been too bad,” Delaney said. “It gave us this opportunity to become far more settled in our planning.”

A $169 Billion Pension Fund Plans London, New York Hiring Spree

The fund’s London office opened in 2016 as it took a majority stake in the King’s Cross redevelopment project. The office also houses AustralianSuper’s offshore dealing team responsible for global equities and currencies.

The focus in New York will be on investing and managing private equity, property and infrastructure assets after buying a stake in key highways in the Greater Washington area from Transurban Group. The New York office, which opened last month, will also house the majority if its expected 20-strong private equity team as they work alongside external managers on deals to double exposure to the sector in five years, Delaney said.

“Having people on the ground relieves the load on people from Melbourne flying backwards and forwards,” Delaney said. “It makes a big difference.”

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