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Exclusive: Whitehelm eyes separate accounts growth

Following founder and CIO Graham Matthews’ recent move to London, the Aussie asset manager plans to expand the business from 10 to 15 separate accounts.

Whitehelm Capital is looking to expand its separate accounts business after relocating founder and chief investment officer Graham Matthews to London recently, Infrastructure Investor understands.

The independent Australian asset manager currently manages 10 separate accounts spanning some A$4.5 billion ($3.4 billion; €3 billion) of assets under management (AUM) and is looking to grow that number to 15. Most of that growth is expected to come from European LPs. 

About two thirds of Whitehelm’s assets are currently located outside Australia – mostly in the UK and Europe – where Whitehelm started managing money on behalf of local pension funds 18 years ago.

Whitehelm’s business spans unlisted and listed equity as well as infrastructure debt. Its unlisted equity strategy has returned an average of 12.7 percent since inception, with its debt strategy returning 14.1 percent, partly due to some opportunistic investments made in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Infrastructure debt makes up around 20 percent of Whitehelm’s AUM.

The Australia fund manager advised MTAA Super and Prime Super last December on the acquisition of a 49.9 percent, A$1.2 billion stake in the Worsley Multi-Fuel Cogeneration plant, located in Western Australia. 

The firm has made 85 investments to date spanning Australia and New Zealand, Asia, Europe and North America. It currently managers 36 of those investments, having exited the remaining 49, returning A$6.5 billion to investors over the last 18 years.