Invest in UK infrastructure, super funds urged
The British government is targeting Australian superannuation funds as potential investors in a raft of new infrastructure projects in the United Kingdom.
According to Justine Allan, head of institutional investor relations for government body, UK Trade & Investment, the UK will expect to need £355 billion of investment over the next 20 years, 40% of which will be in the energy sector.
She said that, of all the global pension funds, Australian super funds are some of the most forward thinking when it comes to investing in infrastructure.
"Some investors, such as the Australian super funds, do have infrastructure departments. But largely they have held heavily regulated assets. But they are now developing their own teams to better understand and take on greenfield projects, projects in different sectors. We've spoken to some super funds who want to know about new nuclear in the UK."
Allan, who travelled to Australia last week, said she has had talks with investors such as Sunsuper, QSuper, QIC and Macquarie.
She called Australian super funds "world leaders" in this area, adding: "Pretty much every pension fund in the United States and most pension funds in the United Kingdom do not invest directly into infrastructure. They will give a sizeable chunk of money to a bank like Macquarie who will invest on their behalf."
She said that is now changing, but that it's a "huge learning process." "What we're here to do is make sure they have all of the information they need about the UK space."
The huge amount of investment opportunities in the UK energy sector comes after the passing of the Energy Act 2013, which set out a number of regulatory measures for the development and pricing of energy, heavily favouring low carbon energy. It has projected it will need £110 billion of investment before 2020.