CalPERS and QIC forge $764M APAC infra partnership

Partnership teams up one of Australia’s largest institutional investment managers with one of the largest public pension funds in the US.

Australia-based QIC and the US-based California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) have forged an Asia-Pacific (APAC) infrastructure partnership after several years of negotiations, according to a QIC release. 

The partnership represents CalPERS' first infrastructure commitment to the Asia-Pacific region, as well as the continued expansion of its infrastructure investment programme.  

“This is a great opportunity to expand our infrastructure portfolio and to enter the Asia-Pacific market,” said CalPERS senior investment officer for real assets Paul Mouchakkaa. “QIC has a proven track record of success and is an excellent fit for our programme. We look forward to working with them.”

In a CalPERS release, it was explained that the investment commitment will be managed through a vehicle created specifically for the arrangement, and that it “will look to invest in high-quality infrastructure assets across sectors, including water, power, transportation, and energy”. 

The A$1 billion ($764 million; €709 million) vehicle created by the commitment will be managed by QIC in Australian-denominated dollars.

According to QIC's head of global infrastructure Ross Israel, “This partnership, in combination with the launch of earlier this year of the QIC Global Infrastructure Fund (QGIF) and other separately managed account clients, increases the size, scope and level of control QIC can bring to future infrastructure opportunities for the benefit of all our clients.”

Israel also said that the commitment was a validation of QIC's infrastructure capabilities, as well as of the opportunity that exists to deploy capital for infrastructure projects across the APAC region.

QIC, headquartered in Brisbane, Australia currently maintains about A$72.9 billion in funds under management for around 90 clients including governments, pension plans, and sovereign wealth funds that span Australia, the US, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

CalPERS has built retirement and health security for state, school, and public agency members for more than eighty years. The pension fund serves more than 1.7 million members and administers benefits for 1.4 million members and their families through its health program. Total market value of the fund currently stands at roughly $307 billion. 

When asked how the new partnership fits into CalPERS' overall investment strategy and what led to the decision to begin investing in infrastructure in the APAC region, the fund declined to comment.