Australia’s VicSuper awards A$100m global infrastructure mandate to Colonial First State

Leading responsible investor backs listed infra fund

VicSuper, the A$12bn (€7.8bn) Australian superannuation fund known for its sustainable investment approach, has awarded a A$100m global listed infrastructure mandate to Colonial First State Global Asset Management (CFSGAM), the asset management arm of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

The new appointment builds on VicSuper’s existing mandates in agriculture, timberland, cleantech and ‘carbon aware’ equities.

In a statement, CFSGAM said the allocation reflected “the highly experienced listed infrastructure team, the rigour of the selection process and the integrated approach to environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues“.

The manager’s listed infrastructure team invests in listed infrastructure worldwide, including toll roads, airports, railroads, utilities, energy storage and pipelines. Its listed fund has assets of A$422m and returned 23% last year. Since it was launched in June 2007, annual returns have come in at 6.8%.Will Oulton, Global Head of Responsible Investment at CFSGAM, said the infrastructure team’s investment process included “a quality assessment which evaluates companies’ social, environmental and corporate governance practices and performance alongside their financial quality.”

VicSuper, a non-profit multi-employer pension scheme, insures more than 240,000 members at 19,000 companies. ESG considerations are central to its investment strategy. It is a signatory to the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), and selects its managers on the basis of their commitment to sustainable investing.

The fund, ranked AAA by the Asset Owners Disclosure Project (AODP), which ranks investors on climate disclosure, has a roster of sustainable investment mandates. In November last year it awarded an A$310m (€208.3m) ESG active global equities mandate to State Street Global Advisors, the funds arm of US giant State Street. The new mandate is called State Street Global Advisors Integrated ESG International Shares Fund.