Case Study

Aware Super | establishing a UK presence

Aware Super is one of Australia’s top performing and largest industry pension funds with A$160 billion funds under management and a focus on generating the strongest risk-adjusted returns possible for their 1.1 million members. 

We spoke to Aware Super Deputy Chief Investment Officer and Head of International, Damien Webb about why the pension fund selected London as its first overseas base for its international expansion strategy.

What does Aware Super do?

In Australia, the pension system is fuelled by mandatory contributions which are then managed mostly by:

  • Industry funds which generate all profits for members
  • Retail funds
  • Self-managed funds, where individuals manage their own investments

With the pool of pension capital that we manage, we are one of the top 50 institutional investors globally. Typically, we take an active management approach across alternative assets, including infrastructure, real estate and private equity, and additionally allocate to liquid markets.

What are your growth ambitions?

As a super fund, and institutional investor, our core focus is to deliver the strongest risk-adjusted returns for our 1.1 million members and at the lowest cost.  

To continue to deliver on that promise, we’ve set an ambitious target of being a top five performing fund – and international expansion is a key enabler of our investment strategy. 

Simply put: to achieve relative scale we need to look offshore to make the right investments for our members, especially when we’re aiming to manage $250bn within a few years. We’re secure in our position domestically, and the time is right that we branch offshore in search of new opportunities.  

We also need to complement that drive for strong returns with a greater focus on lower fees for our members, which we’ll achieve through internalisation – that means, we have to have boots on the ground to originate, execute and manage investment deals rather than paying a fund manager on our members’ behalf.  

Why are you expanding into London?

We selected London due to a multitude of factors, including an aligned business culture, our pre-existing network of investment partners, its proximity to other important capital market in Europe and the US, and the incredible support we have been provided from entities such as the City of London and the London Lord Mayor.

Our London office is a key plank of our boots-on-the-ground strategy and is a key uplift in terms of our capability and management. 

The UK's offering for Australian asset owners

The UK's offering for Australian asset owners

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