Despite the controversy generated by its unlisted assets at the outset of the COVID-19, Hostplus has flagged investments in a slew of new private equity and infrastructure opportunities.
Hostplus has invested billions into opportunities it believes support sustainable development, including a solar cell start-up, a farm robotics company and fake meat producer v2food in order to fulfil its mandate.
“Today, and into the future, we believe these assets can deliver investment growth as well as providing an important balance to listed assets, which can often be more volatile,” Hostplus said.
“In seeking and securing investment opportunities that generate returns while also working to improve the world we live in, we recognise that many of these investments also support one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”
Hostplus also invested in a “creative office space” in Los Angeles, the International Towers in Sydney, Anglian Water Group in the UK, and the Powering Australian Renewables Fund.
Controversial CIO Sam Sicilia backed Hostplus’ unlisted investment strategy, which attracted scrutiny during the COVID-19 crisis due to the belief that it had hindered the fund’s liquidity position at a time when potentially millions of Australians were expected to withdraw their super under the early release scheme.
“Hostplus’ default Balanced (MySuper) option has nearly half of its investments in unlisted assets, such as property, infrastructure and private equity, that are not traded on public exchanges like the ASX,” Mr Sicilia said.
“This past year, the majority of these unlisted assets fulfilled their intended role; that is, to counter the volatility of listed share markets in uncertain times such as these.”
Mr Sicilia recently hit back at suggestions the fund had suffered liquidity problems during the crisis, saying “there was never going to be a problem”.
“We were more worried about preserving the SAA of the fund and investment integrity than early release, which was just an automatic process and it was all met,” Mr Sicilia said.
“That wasn’t an issue…early release is not an investment matter. You come up with the cash and it’s handled by somebody else.”
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