UniSuper’s private markets chief, Gautam Rajamani, has exited the fund in a restructure that has seen its private equity and infrastructure assets delegated to a newly appointed head of unlisted investments.
Kent Robbins, former head of property at the $24.5 billion fund, was appointed head of unlisted assets following the departures of Rajamani and senior private markets analyst Brad Green in late 2010, confirmed CIO John Pearce.
By scaling down the internal team, UniSuper was now free to appoint private markets advisors whose qualifications matched the deals at hand, he said.
“With private markets, particularly on the infrastructure side, we wanted to move towards a model where we use specialist advisers on a case-by-case basis, rather than build a big internal team.”
To this end, Unisuper has contracted two former Colonial First State (CFS) fund managers. Steve Baldwin, who used to run private equity at CFS, has already overseen some divestments from UniSuper’s $788 million private equity book, while Brian McGlynn, who once led CFS’ private capital division, is advising the fund on its $788 million in infrastructure assets and represents UniSuper at AquaSure, the consortium chosen to build the $3.5 billion Wonthaggi desalination plant, in which the fund is an investor.
Pearce was confident that UniSuper could find suitable advisors for each private markets asset it aimed to acquire, grow or exit.
“There will be times when Brian or Steve not qualified, but either someone on our investment committee or management team – or Brian or Steve – should know someone we can get in touch with.”
Now that Robbins was responsible for the broad unlisted assets portfolio, property manager Nick Stephens had greater authority over the operational aspects of this portfolio.
Pearce said the restructuring would not extend to the fund’s strategic weights in infrastructure and private equity.
“I’m not a big believer in strategic weights in these asset classes generally. We’re more opportunistic in this space, where you have a limited capability to take on illiquid assets.”