CalPERS in $790m partnership with QIC

The move, which represents the Californian pension’s first Asia-Pacific infrastructure commitment, comes as QIC pursues efforts to raise a global infrastructure fund.

QIC, the Brisbane-headquartered alternative assets manager, yesterday announced that it had formed a A$1 billion (€711 million; $790 million) infrastructure partnership with the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS).

The partnership represents CalPERS’ first Asia-Pacific infrastructure commitment. It follows QIC’s recent vamping up of its global infrastructure team with the opening of a New York office.

QIC will source, create and manage a portfolio of Asia-Pacific assets on behalf of the partnership. It will target core infrastructure assets in sectors including transport, energy/utilities and public-private partnerships.

“We are very pleased to have entered into this partnership with a pension fund of CalPERS’ stature and for an investment mandate of this scale,” said Ross Israel, head of global infrastructure at QIC.

“This milestone is the culmination of a dialogue over a number of years between QIC and CalPERS to explore a partnership approach to investing in infrastructure. This partnership, in combination with the launch earlier this year of the QIC Global Infrastructure Fund 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.”

In a written exchange with Infrastructure Investor QIC said that the mandate was for direct investments exclusively. When asked to further comment on the nature of the partnership, a QIC spokesperson said: “Typical of bespoke arrangements of this kind, QIC will work closely with the CalPERS team on implementing the investments and consult with CalPERS on the portfolio construction, so it is more akin to a ‘partnership’. The use of the word partnership is not intended to convey a legal / fund structure necessarily.”

Infrastructure Investor revealed last year that QIC, which is one of Australia’s largest institutional investors, was in discussions about a possible fund product with a target understood to be about $1.5 billion. In February, it announced by way of a “progress update” that it had raised $528 million from four institutional investors for the vehicle.

QIC also said then that it had appointed Paul Costello, who was the first chief executive officer (CEO) of Australia’s Future Fund and also the first CEO of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, as independent chairman of its QIC Global Infrastructure Investment Committee.