After restructuring its lineup of Australian equities managers, the $1 billion Legalsuper is finalising a $30 million investment in a retirement centre fund.

Legalsuper will soon invest $30 million into the Retirement Villages Group, an unlisted fund run by FKP Property Group and Macquarie Capital Group, which develops and owns retirement homes in Australia and New Zealand. The investment will stream into the industry fund’s alternatives portfolio, which accounts for 10 per cent of its funds under management. “The alternatives space is interesting to us. We’re looking at more direct investment opportunities,” Andrew Proebstl, Legalsuper chief executive officer, said. Explaining the motive behind the allocation, Proebstl said the ageing demographics in both countries would feed demand for the centres. In addition, “the group is focused on having property in good locations” within major cities, such as Mosman in Sydney and Toorak in Melbourne. The decision was advised upon by JANA Investment Consulting, the fund’s asset consultant. Meanwhile, Legalsuper has remodeled its Australian equities portfolio, terminating a $53 million mandate with Maple Brown Abbott and assigning $66 million to Challenger and a $9 million small-cap Australian equities allocation to Schroders Investment Management. It also dealt a $20 million international equities mandate to New York City-based firm Pzena Investment Management. In other developments, the fund installed a new product allowing members to invest up to 50 per cent of their account balances directly into ASX 200-listed shares and unit trusts, and has merged with the $34 million NSW Barristers Fund. It will also open a Brisbane office, to be staffed by a client services manager, early in 2008. Last week, superannuation funds rating house SuperRatings upgraded its assessment of Legalsuper from ‘Gold’ to ‘Platinum’. “We’ve had a big year,” Proebstl summed up.

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