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ART enhances global investment reach with first overseas office

By Jessica Penny
3 minute read

Australia’s second largest super fund has confirmed it is expanding its presence in the UK following significant investment in the region.

Australian Retirement Trust (ART) has opened its first overseas office in London as it seeks to further capitalise on international investment opportunities.

A spokesperson confirmed that a team of three existing ART employees moved to the UK in mid-March, with the focus being on a “select few” working with external managers and taking advantage of being closer to new investment opportunities.

As such, it was revealed that there are no “heads of” roles or higher currently in London.

“The plan is to grow our presence in the UK incrementally; we’re not expecting to be a big operation,” the spokesperson added.

The fund, which has some 40 per cent of assets outside of Australia and more than $25 billion dollars invested in the UK and Europe, said the expansion aligns with its strategy to further build out a leading global investment capability.

ART chief investment officer Ian Patrick added that the move demonstrates the scale of investments being undertaken since Sunsuper and QSuper merged to form ART more than two years ago.

“Australian Retirement Trust partners with world-class external managers and this is the next logical step for us to expand our investment capability,” Patrick noted.

“The team in Australian Retirement Trust’s UK office will work with external investment managers to source new investment opportunities for our more than 2.3 million members.

“Having an office in close proximity to our external investment managers will help us secure even more compelling investment opportunities for our members.”

ART’s head of global real assets, Michael Weaver, further revealed that the ART team had already met with UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron on his visit to Australia last month to discuss local investment opportunities.

Namely, the fund was among the seven institutional investors – alongside HESTA, Trust, Lendlease, IFM Investors, and Macquarie Group – to join Cameron in a recent meeting, with conversations spanning opportunities for trade and growth, the impact of ESG and the need for sustained investment to combat an increasingly contested international environment.

“As a profit-for-members fund, delivering strong, long-term performance for our members is critical for Australian Retirement Trust,” Weaver said.

“We look forward to capitalising on suitable infrastructure and real estate investments in the UK and Europe that our members will benefit from into retirement.”

In opening its London office, ART will be joining other Australian funds that have cemented their own branches in the UK.

Namely, Aware Super announced plans for the opening of a London office late last year and outlined expectations that its team would grow to 30–40 staff in coming years.

Similarly, AustralianSuper opened a London office in 2016, which has since grown to more than 100 staff members, and has some £8 billion currently invested in the UK.